The Point, March 17, 2020: Gainesville Leaders Issue Citywide Curfew, Declare Local Emergency

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The latest in COVID-19 updates: City of Gainesville and Alachua County officials declared a local state of emergency on Monday. Mayor Lauren Poe called a special commission meeting during which local measures, like capping indoor and outdoor public assemblies to 50 people and issuing a citywide curfew, were instated. The city braces for primary elections today amid COVID-19 while the state braces to pass a record $93.2 billion budget on Thursday. (WUFT News) 

• WUFT News: Gainesville City Commission Holds Emergency Meeting To Discuss COVID-19. All places of public assembly, whether indoor and outdoor, are limited to no more than 50 people, or 50 percent of the meeting place’s occupancy load, whichever is less, City Manager Lee Feldman said at a special City Commission meeting. County Commission Chairman Robert Hutchinson in a separate video message described what the declaration means across the county.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Gainesville Newk’s closes after worker diagnosed with COVID-19. “Gainesville’s Newk’s Eatery restaurant is temporarily closed after a worker was diagnosed with COVID-19.”

• WUFT News: Public Mistakenly Kept From Courtrooms As COVID-19 Precautions Set In At Courthouse. “It remains unclear who gave the order to only allow defendants and litigators into the courtrooms… though a sign posted on the door of each one declared it was ‘for public safety reasons’ and said, ‘Thank you, Court Administration.'”

Citrus Chronicle ($): Some Marion County polling places vote “No” to using their facilities. Marion County Supervisor of Elections Wesley Wilcox said Monday morning that his office was working on alternative solutions after some polling places expressed fear over allowing multitudes onto their property.”

Citrus Chronicle ($): SHUTTING DOWN: County, cities, schools cancel programs, close buildings. Citrus County began its work week like millions of communities across the country, wondering how its citizens and businesses will cope with an ever-changing reality caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”

• WMFE: Drive-up coronavirus testing at offices in The Villages and Ocala. A Central Florida group of medical offices has begun providing drive-up coronavirus testing at two of its 14 clinics in Central Florida.”


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Around the state today

• WUSF: Fifth Person Dies From Coronavirus In Florida, More Test Positive. “The person died in Orange County, a release from the state said, but no other details were provided. The state also announced that five more Florida residents tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total cases in Florida to 160.”

Politico: Florida is weird. Thanks to coronavirus, its primary will be, too. Florida, a state famed for its weirdness, is preparing for one of its weirdest election days on Tuesday, when Democrats and Republicans will brave a pandemic to cast primary ballots for their presidential nominees.” 

• Florida Politics: Groups sue to extend election to March 27. “The state’s refusal to take reasonable emergency election measures will prevent Floridians from participating in Tuesday’s presidential primary elections, the suit charges.”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): As coronavirus spreads, Florida is buying way more guns than normal. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer aren’t the only things Floridians are stocking up during the coronavirus pandemic. People across the state are rushing to buy more guns.”

• Bradenton Herald ($): Coronavirus testing in Florida not keeping up with demand, hospital chief says. “As of Friday, Sarasota Memorial Hospital had sent samples from 186 of their patients to be tested for the coronavirus. Of those, there was one positive case, 85 negative cases and 60 cases still awaiting results, according to hospital CEO David Verinder. ‘Overall testing capacity in our state and around the country is growing, but not fast enough to keep up with the public demand,’ Verinder said.”

Florida Phoenix: Gov. DeSantis leaving closure of beaches, bars, and restaurants to local government discretion. The issue matters because of the threat that otherwise healthy young people could pass the virus among themselves while remaining unsymptomatic and then to populations most at risk to fatal complications: the elderly and people with serious underlying medical conditions.”

• From our Fresh Take Florida team:  Floridians shine a light on one of the bloodiest and racially marred election days in the state’s political history. On Nov. 2, 1920, as many as 60 African Americans were murdered because they wanted to vote. More than a century later, Florida lawmakers are deciding whether or not to compensate their descendants.

Miami Herald ($): Univision Florida poll: Donald Trump ahead of Biden, Sanders. Donald Trump has a slight lead over Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in Florida, a key battleground state that the president likely must win in November to be reelected, according to a new Univision poll released Monday.”

Florida Keys News ($): Coast Guard stops boat full of migrants off South Florida. The countries of origins of the people on board include the Bahamas, Brazil, Haiti, Jamaica and Peru…”


From NPR News

• National: Amazon To Hire 100,000 Workers To Meet ‘Surge In Demand’

• Politics: White House Announces New Social Distancing Guidelines Around Coronavirus

• Politics: As Coronavirus Spreads, States Scramble To Reassure Public That Voting Is Safe

• Business: Stocks Go Into Shock. Dow Plunges Nearly 3,000 Points

• Health: Social Distancing, Quarantines And Isolation: Degrees Of Separation, Explained 

• Health: How Are Coronavirus Tests Getting To Where They Need To Go? 

• Race: What 10 Students Learned From Having To Say Their Worst Thoughts On Race Out Loud

About Gabriella Paul

Gabriella Paul is a reporter for WUFT. She can be reached at gabbympaul@ufl.edu.

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