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Today’s top Florida stories
• WUFT News: Alachua County Reveals Future COVID-19 Relief And Budget Plans. “Alachua County will disburse $46.9 million in CARES Act funds for COVID-19 relief, and according to a new budget plan, property taxes in the county could soon be lowered, too.”
• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Marion health department staffs up to battle COVID-19. “For now, the uptick in cases has not overly stressed the hospital system. As of Tuesday, 24% of hospital beds were open and ventilator availability was at 80%.”
• Florida Politics: In Florida, COVID-19 deaths lag hospitalizations, which lag cases. “Death counts nonetheless have climbed slowly in the second go-round. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 deaths topped 40 per day on July 2, and have reached a second-wave high of 48 through Tuesday’s report.”
• Miami Herald ($): Despite state order, Miami-Dade will not reopen schools until county enters Phase 2. “If the county is still in Phase 1 by the start of school Aug. 24, as it is now, schooling would be held entirely online.”
• WLRN: Keys Watching Hospital Capacity Closely As Cases Rise On Island Chain. “The reason the Florida Keys are wary of COVID-19 — and put up a checkpoint keeping visitors out for more than two months — has always been the same: the limited hospital capacity on the island chain. As the numbers of coronavirus cases rise, that capacity is becoming an increasing concern.”
• St. Augustine Record ($): City of St. Augustine Beach changes mask recommendation to mask mandate. “The City of St. Augustine Beach will now require face coverings to be worn inside public buildings, following a second vote on the topic.”
• WJCT: Curry Confident Mask Mandate Is Legal; Mayor In Self-Quarantine After COVID-19 Exposure. “Curry said that Tuesday morning through a virtual media conference, a day after Florida House Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Lake County) filed a lawsuit against the city and held a ‘Freedom Rally’ outside the Duval County Courthouse.”
Florida Storms: Data Continues to Suggest This Will be An Active Hurricane Season. “The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team, lead by Dr. Philip Klotzbach, is now predicting 20 named storms for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Of those, researchers expect nine to become hurricanes and four to reach major hurricane strength with sustained winds greater than 110 mph (177 km/h).”
• Politico: Florida politicians and Democratic Party got loans through PPP. “Among those receiving a six-figure loan is the accounting firm where Florida GOP Chairman Joe Gruters, a huge politically ally of Trump, works. The Florida Democratic Party got a loan of between $350,000 to $1 million, while a senior home care company run by the family of Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of Trump’s biggest supporters in Congress, got between $350,000 and $1 million.”
• WTSP: Graves may be under Tropicana Field, mayor’s office says. “The city of St. Petersburg plans to eventually redevelop an 86-acre parcel of land where the Tropicana Field baseball stadium currently sits, and before it does, hopes to answer the question: are there graves under the parking lots?”
• Pensacola News Journal: Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson recommends removing Confederate monument after staff report. “City Administrator Keith Wilkins sent a memo to the mayor Tuesday recommending the monument’s complete removal from city property after staff reviewed the history of the monument and found it does not reflect the city’s ‘current values nor strive to create a more inclusive city.'”
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