The Point, March 27, 2020: Florida Unemployment Claims Skyrocket, More Expected To File


Subscribe to The Point to invite us into your inbox with the most important Florida news from Monday through Friday at 8 a.m.

The top stories near you

• WUFT News: UF Students Abroad Describe The Scramble To Return Home As Pandemic Ensued. “Wearing a mask and gloves, the next thing Daniel Farji knew he was boarding a plane on February 27 — two days after being told to evacuate — cutting short his senior year participation in the architecture program he had mapped out over a year in advance and waited for since he was a freshman.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): UF expects $33M loss to COVID-19. “The University of Florida will lose $33 million for the spring and summer after state universities were told to send students home last week and transition to remote learning in attempts to halt the spread of COVID-19, officials said Thursday.”

• WUFT News: From The Front Lines Podcast. “Despite being closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections is still holding its canvassing board meeting Friday to certify the results of this past presidential primary and city races. WUFT’s Josh Williams spoke with the Supervisor of Elections Kim A. Barton about what she’s doing to complete this election and plan for the virus’ impact on the next election.”

• WUFT News: Farm Share Food Distribution Event In Gainesville Attracts Hundreds, Causes Traffic Jam. “In a time of pandemic, social distancing and lockdowns, a charity’s decision to go ahead with a routine food giveaway in Gainesville caused more of a commotion than the organizers had bargained for, with people camping out overnight and traffic causing gridlock in surrounding streets.”

• WUFT News: Gainesville City Leaders Host First COVID-19 Town Hall Since Stay-At-Home Order Issued. “The phone call was aimed at answering questions about what actions the city is taking to keep people and businesses safe. This was the first telephone town hall held after Alachua County and the City of Gainesville on Tuesday issued a stay-at-home order.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Coronavirus Alachua County: 53 cases as of latest report. (You’ll probably have to update with their morning report, apologies). “In the 6 p.m. report for Thursday, March 26: 41 in Gainesville, three in Newberry, two in Micanopy and Tioga, and one Alachua and High Springs. UF reports 20 cases.”

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Marion County hospitals prepare for worst, hope for best. “As of Thursday, AdventHealth Ocala, Ocala Regional Medical Center and West Marion Community Hospital are reporting no surge in patients due to the new coronavirus. All three hospitals said they were well stocked with supplies and had plenty of capacity.”

• WCJB: State officials allow to-go cocktails after local bar generates public outcry online. “The owner of Madrina’s, TJ Palmieri, said he invested $1,000 in his ‘to-go cocktails’ project only to stop selling drinks. Palmieri told TV20 that after an outcry online, the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco reversed its course.”

• WMFE: Marion County Closes Internet Cafes. “Marion County has ordered the closure of internet cafes, bingo halls, bowling alleys, race tracks, theaters and other recreational venues to slow the spread of COVID-19. The ordinance fills a perceived gap in the governor’s order halting dine-in service at bars and restaurants and closing gyms.”

• WUFT: Up All Light: Micanopy’s New LED Streetlights Generate Mixed Reactions. “As a result of a partnership with Duke Energy, 123 4000 Kelvin light-emitting diode streetlights now light the town’s roads. The new streetlights replaced all existing high pressure sodium amber lights that the town rented.”

• Citrus County Chronicle: Citrus sees record heat, no rain and declining lake levels. “Citrus County has pretty much seen no rain the entire month of March and it’s caused lake levels to be about 1 foot lower than this time last year. And just in the last few weeks, those levels have declined 4.5 inches, said Dr. Mark Fulkerson, senior professional engineer with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.”

• Suwannee Democrat: Health officials lift advisory for Withlacoochee. “Both health departments have conducted sampling along the river since the advisory was issued and the recent test results indicate the Withlacoochee again meets surface water quality, meaning the public can resume water-related activities.”

Today’s sponsored message

Crime Prevention Security Systems has more than 40 years of experience in providing peace of mind for businesses and families in North Central Florida. With its free app, local monitoring and state of the art security equipment, Crime Prevention is the local leader in security systems and home technology. Upgrade your existing system now for remote access to your security, lights, locks and thermostats – from your smartphone or tablet. Call 352-376-1499 or visit

Around the state today

• Tampa Bay Times: Florida unemployment claims explode amid coronavirus layoffs. “A total of 74,021 people signed up, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday, smashing the old record of 40,403 set in 2009 during the Great Recession. The total was an astronomical jump from the 6,256 claims filed a week earlier.”

• WUSF: New Florida COVID-19 Cases Top 500 For A Second Day. “The latest figures reflect an increase of 129 more people with COVID-19 since the 11 a.m. report Thursday, and 507 more than Wednesday evening. Thursday’s escalation is very close to Wednesday’s increase of 510 over the previous day.”

• NPR: Without A Statewide Stay-At-Home Mandate, Florida Braces For COVID-19 Wave. “Epidemiologists are seeing warning signs that Florida may soon see a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases. Gov. Ron DeSantis is refusing to issue a statewide order for residents to stay at home.”

• Politico: New York’s snowbirds, super-rich could stymie attempts to seal Florida borders. “But try as (Florida’s governor) might to staunch the alleged flow of New Yorkers to Florida in the midst of the coronavirus, not only has nearly all flight traffic from New York area airports ground to a halt, the New Yorkers who want to be in Florida right now are probably already there. Those who still want to go will almost certainly find a way around his possibly illegal attempt to blockade them — some by private jet.”

• Florida Politics: Broward County ‘urges’ residents to remain home with shelter-in-place order. “A new shelter-in-place order is ‘urging’ Broward County residents to stay indoors to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That order will take effect just after midnight Thursday evening.”

• Pensacola News Journal ($): Coronavirus: Santa Rosa County infant under 1 is youngest case of coronavirus in Florida. “A Santa Rosa infant under 1 year old is youngest coronavirus case in Florida. He joins six other cases in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties recorded Thursday.”

• Sun Sentinel ($): Palm Peach County lags in coronavirus testing. “Palm Beach County has conducted the smallest number of tests for the new coronavirus out of any densely populated county in the state of Florida, according to data from the State Department of Health. That’s a problem for the over 350,000 senior citizens who live in the county.”

• WMFE: Central Florida Shelters Take Precautions to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus in the Homeless Population. “Orlando Union Rescue Mission Director Freddy Clayton says long-term residents are required to stay in the shelter and eat in shifts to maintain social distancing. Clayton says short-term residents are screened before entering.”

• Florida Politics: Lawyers, judges push to close immigration courts amid virus. “While much of daily life has ground to a halt to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, the Trump administration is resisting calls from immigration judges and attorneys to stop in-person hearings and shutter all immigration courts. They say the most pressing hearings can be done by phone so immigrants aren’t stuck in detention indefinitely.”

• Orlando Weekly: Krispy Kreme is giving away dozens of donuts to healthcare workers on Mondays. “Krispy Kreme, the chain of donut shops so popular that some drive-thru lines wrap around the block, is giving away thousands of free donuts to all healthcare workers. The giveaway starts Monday, March 30, which is National Doctors’ Day, and continues every Monday through May 11, which is during National Nurses Week.”

• News Service of Florida: Fix Amendment 4 mess or I will, Florida judge tells DeSantis attorneys. “U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle warned the state’s attorneys to come up with a process to determine whether felons have paid ‘legal financial obligations’ as required by the law and whether those felons have the ability to pay the court-ordered fees and fines. He said that work needs to be done before an April 27 trial in the case — or else.”

From NPR News

• National: Congress Approved The $2 Trillion Relief Package. When Can I Expect My Check?

• World: How South Korea Reined In The Outbreak Without Shutting Everything Down

• National: The Biggest Distance-Learning Experiment In History: Week One

• Politics: The Senate Relief Bill Provides Economic Relief — But Not To Some Immigrants

• Business: What To Do If You Lose Your Job Due To The Coronavirus Outbreak

• Health: ‘Glimmer of Hope’: When Can We Say Social Distancing Is Working?

• Health: Prepare For Outbreaks Like New York’s In Other States, Warns Anthony Fauci

• Science: Behind The Race To Develop Antibody-Based Treatments For COVID-19

About Kristen Altus

Kristen is a web editor and reporter for WUFT News. She can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing Follow her on social media @kristenaltus.

Check Also

The Point, Dec. 4, 2023: School district returns LGBTQ book to library shelf

Subscribe to The Point, arriving in your inbox Monday through Friday at 8 a.m. The stories …