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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.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Re-Open Florida Task Force has launched a public comment submission portal open to all Floridians.

MARIA TSYRULEVA/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Folks who have been hoping Pinellas County officials will move forward with a plan to reopen the county’s beaches now have a powerful ally.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Two years ago, a group of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and their teacher worked together to finish making a yearbook after tragedy.

This year, some of the same students are putting out another yearbook, again, under circumstances that are anything but normal. The coronavirus pandemic. 

 

Hurricane Dorian satellite
NOAA

Florida officials are considering adjusting the state’s hurricane-response plans to prepare for the possibility of an early storm season intersecting with the COVID-19 pandemic, Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said Friday.

 


Some parts of the state are gradually reopening, even as the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continue rising.

Tampa Bay skyline at sunset
Visit Tampa Bay

State and local officials are optimistic that Florida may be past the peak of coronavirus infection, but a new report from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council shows that the six area counties are going to take longer to financially recover than most parts of the country.

As the world's 1.8 billion Muslims begin observing the holy month of Ramadan, traditionally a time of dawn-to-dusk fasting, festivities and communal prayer, an unprecedented global pandemic is changing the celebration this year in equally unprecedented ways.

FLORIDA PUBLIC RADIO EMERGENCY NETWORK

A line of heavy thunderstorms is crossing the Florida Peninsula this morning and is likely to continue throughout the day.

Damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes are possible across North Florida beginning as early as midday Thursday, as a powerful low pressure storm system carves through the Deep South. 

The risk of potentially destructive weather is greatest in the Panhandle Thursday afternoon and evening, followed by The

A contentious civil rights trial is slated to start next Monday in federal court. On the one side sits the state of Florida and a slew of other states supporting it.

On the other, thousands of potential voters who are currently barred from participating in elections because of the one thing they lack: money.

Closed sign at Upper Tampa Bay Park
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Things are returning to normal across Tampa Bay.

Library worker, wearing mask, handing out unemployment form
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM/FACEBOOK

Libraries around the Tampa Bay area are offering paper unemployment forms to people who don’t have access to a printer.

(Updated at 10:45 a.m. Thurs., April 23, with Sarasota County information)

A green lifeguard stand on Siesta Beach, with a few people milling about.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Sarasota County Commissioners have voted to reopen beaches.

But there will be restrictions.

Beginning Monday, people will be able to walk, swim and fish at Sarasota County beaches. These are deemed as "essential activities" outlined by Governor Ron DeSantis' stay-at-home order.

Mayor Rick Kriseman stands behind a podium at the city's emergency operations center
City of St. Petersburg

While some models say Florida and St. Petersburg may have passed the peak rate of coronavirus infections, that doesn’t mean people should be throwing house parties anytime soon.

In his weekly COVID-19 update, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said Tuesday the city will not be lifting social distancing orders without a serious review.

Epcot at night
iStock

Expect “virtual” or expanded FastPass-style lines, staggered seating on rides, online food ordering and limited crowds when Florida’s major theme parks eventually reopen after being shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Philip Bryant

It appears Tom Brady will be reunited with his favorite receiver in Tampa Bay.

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