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• On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that by next week, he expects to roll out plans to reopen the state’s economy. DeSantis said the plan will consist of “silos” that will each address a different facet like restaurants, testing, large events, non-essential business and protective gear requirements. (WUFT News)
• WUFT News: From The Front Lines Podcast. “Shannon Snow, pitmaster for Sonny’s BBQ, spoke with us about how his restaurant got involved in the FEED GNV pilot program, which is providing meals to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents during the coronavirus crisis.”
• WUFT News: Alachua County Handles Fire Rescue Budget Request Amid Coronavirus Emergency. “Alachua Fire Chief Harold Theus expressed the importance of upgrading the radio system for the safety of law enforcement and first responders, even though it would take between 24 to 36 months to be completed. ‘From a law enforcement standpoint, it’s incredibly important for officers and public safety individuals to access their radios on their hip when away from their vehicles,’ Theus said.”
• WUFT News: ‘I Feel The Difference In My Body’: Meat Alternatives Increasingly Consumed Amid Pandemic. “Almost 40% of Americans now try to eat more plant-based foods, according to a Nielsen study from 2018. Last month, however, NPR reported that a recent Nielsen report found that the coronavirus had caused vegan meat sales to increase by 279.8% compared to the year before.”
• Suwannee Democrat: Two more deaths, cases confirmed in Suwannee County. “According to the health department, a 79-year-old male and an 80-year-old male have died from the virus. Both had been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and had been hospitalized.”
• The Alligator: Alachua County COVID-19 cases appear to be plateauing, local health officials say. “Alachua County Department of Health administrator Paul Myers believes the flattened shape the county is seeing is partly because it has quarantined more than 400 people who were exposed to the virus and implemented social distancing regulations.”
• Gainesville Sun: Sweet turn: Gainesville man loses job, starts cookie biz. “As the COVID-19 virus began to hurl its wrecking ball into the nation’s economy, Thomas Tarrant smelled opportunity. It smelled like cookies.”
• Ocala Star-Banner: Grassroots effort focuses on faith over fear during COVID-19. “The movement started with a Facebook group that asked people to place a lighted cross in their yards. That led to signs and decals throughout Ocala and Marion County.”
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Around the state today
• WFSU: Paycheck Protection Program Out Of Money, Small Businesses Left Wondering When They Can Apply Next. “The federal Paycheck Protection Program has run out of money days after several groups and officials warned the fund was shrinking. Officials are still urging businesses to prepare their applications in anticipation Congress will earmark more funds.”
• Politico: Florida pays on only 5 percent of jobless claims as DeSantis rejects calls for generosity. “The coronavirus pandemic has delivered a knockout punch to the state’s economy, prompting labor groups and Democratic politicians to call on Florida to raise its $275 cap on weekly unemployment benefits, which is one of the lowest amounts in the country, and extend the number of weeks that people can collect aid.”
• NPR News: First Florida Beach Reopening After Coronavirus Shutdown. “Jacksonville parks and beaches in Duval County reopen Friday for ‘essential activities’ include walking, biking and swimming, as long as they’re done within social distancing guidelines.”
• Miami Herald: Florida blocks COVID-19 information from public as Gov. Ron DeSantis touts transparency. “Emails and phone conference appointments obtained through a public records request show that, while medical examiners across Florida had already released details about deaths in their counties, attorneys for the state spent more than a week trying to convince their counterparts in Miami-Dade County not to provide that information to the Herald.”
• WMFE: Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Says Some TSA Officers, Other Employees May Not Have Masks. “Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Phil Brown says not every TSA worker at the airport has a mask, days after the thirteenth TSA officer at the airport tested positive for coronavirus.”
• Florida Phoenix: Undisclosed inmate deaths caught FL lawmakers off guard; now a third inmate death. “Two state lawmakers who speak frequently with state prison authorities said Thursday they were disappointed that the Florida Department of Corrections failed to tell them or the public that two inmates died from COVID-19 days ago. A third death was reported late Thursday but with no details on when or where.”
• TCPalm: Boat ramps in Port St. Lucie to re-open April 17 after being closed for three weeks. “Boaters in Port St. Lucie received good news Thursday afternoon. City of Port St. Lucie-managed boat ramps will be re-opening beginning at 8 a.m. April 17.”
• Florida Politics: Publix to donate more than $500K to food banks in Florida in response to coronavirus. “Those donations comes as part of a million-dollar appropriation throughout the southeast. It’s the second time Publix has promised a million dollars to food banks in the region in response to COVID-19.”
• WLRN: Sea Turtles Able To Nest In Peace As COVID-19 Empties Broward Beaches. “‘One of the things that we’re experiencing with having our beaches closed to the public, is that it does kind of open up opportunities for our sea turtles,’ Derek Burkholder said.”