LISTEN LIVE

News

News

A beach with people sunbathing
Visit Sarasota

Sarasota's Lido Beach will remain closed for now but city owned boat ramps at Centennial Park and Ken Thompson Park have been reopened to the public.

A male and female medical officials take a medical test sample from a person in a car at a drive-thru sitesample
Manatee County Government

Pinellas County is now offering COVID-19 testing without restrictions at three sites. The testing is free and is being offered for walk-ups and drive-through to at Community Health Centers in Pinellas Park, Clearwater and the Johnnie Ruth Clarke Center in St. Petersburg. 

Downtown high rise with view of street and bay.
Sarasota City Government

The City of Sarasota has approved a grant program aimed at helping small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative would help stabilize struggling small businesses with grants up to $5,000. Money would come from $2.2 million in economic development funds.

The grant program is still being finalized-- but will be eligible to businesses with 25 employees or fewer. Grants will be awarded on a first come first served basis.

STEVE NEWBORN/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa has announced plans to reopen to the public on May 15.

Diners enjoy outdoor seating at Parkshore Grill in St. Petersburg on Monday. Tables must be spaced six feet apart.
Tyson Grant / Parkshore Grill

Diners are returning to Tampa Bay area restaurants for sit-down service now that the state is letting them reopen with limited capacity.


A group of teenagers sits on a beach towel at Clearwater Beach.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Pinellas County's beaches were busy Monday, on the first day that people were allowed to return to the sand.

Legendary Miami Dolphins Head Coach Don Shula Dies At 90

May 4, 2020

Don Shula, the steel-jawed son of Hungarian immigrants who rose from tiny Painesville, Ohio, to carve his name in professional football’s record books and become both a national figure and a South Florida icon, passed away Monday morning.

The cause of death was not immediately known, but a source has confirmed it is not related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

CLEARWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT

Beach goers can return to the sand in Pinellas County this morning, but don't expect it to get too crowded.

Recent track forecast improvements prevented millions of Floridians from unnecessarily evacuating ahead of Hurricane Dorian last year, but a new report also reveals record-setting errors in its intensity forecast.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling for an investigation into the state’s unemployment system, which he described as “broken.”

Housing prices aren't expected to drop significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group Florida Realtors says that's because builders have been cautious since the last recession. They've built fewer homes, and Florida has a statewide shortage.

Florida Realtors' Chief Economist Brad O'Connor says new home sales are down anywhere from 30% to 40% statewide. He says there's a key difference between the housing market of today and the one ten years ago.

Florida’s state parks will reopen on Monday as part of a broader move to reopen the state. Governor DeSantis made the announcement today in Jacksonville. Restaurants and retails stores will also reopen at 25 percent capacity if local governments allow.

The governor is making an exception to those reopening rules in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, where there is the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state.

A white sign says "business is open"
Delaney Brown / WUSF Public Media

In two unanimous votes, the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners decided Friday to extend the local state of emergency while allowing some businesses to resume in accordance with Governor Ron DeSantis’s plan to reopen the state.

 


This week Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his Phase One reopening plan, which will take effect across most of the state (with tighter restrictions remaining in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, where over half the confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths are located) on Monday, May 4.

Floridians have been under orders to stay at home since early April, but Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis says now is the time to start a gradual reopening.

Retail stores and restaurants in most of the state will be allowed to open on Monday at 25% capacity and with social distancing measures. Schools, bars, gyms, movie theaters, beauty salons and barber shops will remain closed.

Circle B Bar Reserve stream
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Most parks and preserves across Polk County will be begin to reopen Friday under social distancing guidelines.

More than 30 million people have applied for unemployment as of April 30, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Many are falling behind on their rent and are being evicted, despite new rules designed to stop evictions. Experts say the moratoriums by state and local officials don't go far enough and are leaving tenants vulnerable.

"My main concern is that I'll be evicted," says David Perez. The self-employed father of one sells artisanal wares, like wallets and sandals, at a flea market in Elkridge, Md. "What's going to happen to my family?"

CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Members of the Hillsborough Emergency Policy Group voted Thursday to rescind its stay-at-home order, beginning at midnight Monday. But it won't mean the end of social distancing - the governor's revised policy takes effect then.

In addition, some Hillsborough County parks, preserves and trails will be reopening within the next week.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Manatee County beaches will reopen Monday under social distancing guidelines, and with restrictions on parking.

Hurricane forecasters and the models they depend on failed to anticipate the strength and impact of last year's deadliest storm. Hurricane Dorian caused catastrophic damage to islands in the Northern Bahamas, killing more than 200 people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Updated at 8:38 a.m. ET

The telephone lines are still jammed at the nation's unemployment offices.

Another 3.8 million people filed claims for jobless benefits last week, according to the Labor Department. While that's down from the previous week's 4.4 million, a staggering 30.3 million have applied for unemployment in the six weeks since the coronavirus began taking a wrecking ball to the U.S. job market.

That's roughly one out of five people who had a job in February.

Update as Noon Wednesday:

The strongest showers and thunderstorms are just offshore from the western Panhandle. Thunderstorms may develop inland this afternoon and early this evening over the Panhandle. A few of these storms may produce gusty winds, but the latest high-resolution models are forecasting a greater concentration of thunderstorms over the Gulf of Mexico this afternoon. These storms may continue eastward and affect the Florida Peninsula late this evening and overnight.

GOOGLE

The co-founder of Bern’s Steak House in South Tampa has died.

Gertrude “Gert” Laxer died Tuesday in Tampa. She was 93.

Structure being built on the water of Tampa Bay
Thomas Iacobucci / WUSF Public Media

The opening of the St. Pete Pier has been delayed.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Hernando County park and beach locations will reopen starting Wednesday.

Pier 60 closed
MARIA TSYRULEVA/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Beaches and pools in Pinellas County will soon be reopened.

Pinellas County commissioners on Tuesday voted 6-1 to reopen beaches, parking lots and restrooms starting Monday at 7 a.m. following public comment both for and against the idea.

Duke Energy power trucks
Duke Energy

In what one regulator called a “no-brainer,” customers of four major utilities will get a break on upcoming electric bills as they grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

 Alexia Fodere
Miami Herald / WLRN

It came a week after the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but a virtual roundtable on climate change and its effects on Florida took place Monday.

The League of Conservation Voters event was held in conjunction with the Joe Biden for President Campaign and spoke about how the former vice president would address the issue if elected. The LCV endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee last week.

iStock

The U.S. Census Bureau is in need of more time to get the results of the 2020 count due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Bureau is asking Congress for an additional 120 days to deliver final numbers.

Wilbur Ross, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary, and Steven Dillingham, U.S. Census Bureau Director, said in the statement that though the Bureau is still collecting data online, as well as via phone and mail, they have temporarily suspended field data collection.

The Hillsborough County orange and blue logo
Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County opened up a new hotline on Monday for people who have lost their job or have reduced wages because of coronavirus, and need help paying for their housing and utilities.

The numbers for the Rapid Response Assistance Call Center is (813) 274-3710 or (813) 274-6710. It is open to callers from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The county opened a second number Monday morning due to high call volume. County officials are also asking people to be patient when calling.

Pages