The Point, April 21, 2020: Gov. Ron DeSantis Assembles ‘Re-Open Florida Task Force’


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• From our Fresh Take Florida team: Of the almost 200 bills sent to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis to be signed into law, one would mandate Florida employers’ use of E-Verify, an online government system used to vet the legal status of new hires. Amid devastating job losses due to coronavirus, contentions over the already-divisive prospect of E-Verify have heightened. (WUFT News)

• WUFT News: Coronavirus Daily Update: DeSantis Calls First ‘Re-Open Florida Task Force’ Meeting.“Every Friday, the group will brief DeSantis on strategic recommendations for pressing resume in Florida.”

• Suwannee Democrat: Two more COVID-19 deaths announced for Suwannee County. “According to the Florida Department of Health, a 74-year-old male and a 62-year-old female that had previously been diagnosed with the virus have died.”

• WUFT News: How UF’s Small Animal Hospital Has Prioritized Clients During Coronavirus Era. “In an effort to help with social distancing, the hospital initially stopped owners from bringing their pets into the hospital, instead having veterinary assistants go to a line of cars to retrieve the pets from them. Since April 1, however, the hospital has been sending only a handful of employees, dressed in personal protective equipment, to retrieve the pets.”

• WUFT News: From The Front Lines Podcast. “Laura Byrnes, spokeswoman for CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, discusses the latest unemployment numbers in the region and how they are helping people during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Biotech firm picks Gainesville as it seeks COVID-19 vaccine.“Biotech company Noachis Terra, which is developing a COVID-19 vaccine, announced its Gainesville headquarters Monday.”

• Citrus County Chronicle: Coleman: Reopening Citrus depends on COVID-19 numbers.“Even with Gov. Ron DeSantis leaving the decision to reopen parks and public beaches to local governments, Citrus County isn’t there yet, county commission Chairman Brian Coleman said Monday.”

• WMFE: Tornado crosses I-75 in Marion County.“It lifted a 36-foot portable building off the back of a semi and tore it to pieces, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. It wrecked a nearby farm, too, but the animals escaped harm.”

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Around the state today

• Florida Phoenix: Federal inmate death toll rises to 22; FL state prisons report nearly 4,000 inmates in ‘medical quarantine’.“Florida’s state prison system is contending with coronavirus in 56 of its 145 correctional facilities, which incarcerate roughly 96,000 inmates, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.”

• Tallahassee Democrat: Unemployment payments now at roughly 6% as jobless still struggle with system.“Just over 6 percent of people who have filed jobless claims since mid-March had received checks as of Sunday…”

• WJCT: St. Johns County Joins Duval In Reopening Beaches On Limited Basis.“St. Johns County beaches are now open from 6 a.m. to noon seven days a week, but with many of the same limitations going into effect at Duval’s limited reopening of its beaches.”

• Miami Herald: ‘What are we waiting for?’ Mayor has plan to reopen parks, marinas, golf in Miami-Dade.“Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he’s ready to implement detailed rules of conduct to allow parks, marinas and golf courses to reopen countywide, casting off concerns that the spread of coronavirus is still too risky to loosen restrictions.”

• Pensacola News Journal ($): Rep. Mike Hill criticized for response to email asking for help.“State Rep. Mike Hill is receiving criticism for his “callous” response to a Pensacola woman’s request for help navigating Florida’s broken unemployment system.”

• Tampa Bay Times: St. Pete Pride reschedules for the fall over coronavirus concerns.“St. Pete Pride, which bills itself as the largest LGBTQ Pride celebration in Florida, has been rescheduled for sometime in the fall.”

• Sarasota-Herald Tribune ($): First turtle nest of the season discovered on Siesta Key.“Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium volunteers found the first sea turtle nest of the season on Monday morning, a loggerhead, the region’s most abundant nester.”

From NPR News

• World: Brazil’s Bolsonaro Joins Supporters In Protest Against Coronavirus Measures

• World: Singapore Sees Surge In COVID-19 Cases, Now Has Highest Number In Southeast Asia

• Politics: President Trump Doubles Down On Coronavirus Testing Capabilities

• Race: Study Links Racial Prejudices And Disease Outbreaks

• Business: U.S. Oil Prices Fall Below Zero For The First Time In History

• Business: Colleges Brace For Financial Trouble And A Big Question: Will They Reopen In Fall?

• Business: ‘Illegal To Essential’: How The Coronavirus Is Boosting The Legal Cannabis Industry

• Health: Jacksonville Mayor Responds To National Criticism For Reopening Beaches.


About Gabriella Paul

Gabriella Paul is a reporter for WUFT. She can be reached at

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