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Heat Arena’s New Name To Help Fight Gun Violence, Workplace Vaccination Requirements, Joan Didion’s ‘Miami’

A man dressed in office attire and wearing a black face mask receives a vaccine does on his left arm. The person administering the vaccine is wearing blue scrubs.
Miami Herald
Luis E. Diaz, a Miami-Dade County Public schools employee, receives a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Frederica Wilson/Juanita Mann Health Center.

There’s a plan to use money from the Heat arena’s new name to fight gun violence. Is it legal for employers to require a COVID-19 vaccine? Plus, we take a look back at Miami in the 1980s with Joan Didion's highly acclaimed book.

On this Tuesday, April 20, episode of Sundial:

Heat Arena’s New Name To Help Fight Gun Violence

Money to address rising gun violence is coming from an unlikely place. The Miami Heat’s home court — American Airlines Arena — is soon going to be called the FTX Arena.

The 19-year agreement with the cryptocurrency exchange company includes $90 million, which will be used to reduce gun violence and improve incomes across the county.

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“Gun violence was always an issue that was affecting our communities and it was something that the county had not really had any significant action on. … I didn't want us to forget what were the issues that were affecting this community before COVID-19 came into existence,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Keon Hardemon.

Hardemon represents District 3, which includes communities like Liberty City, Overtown and Wynwood. He sponsored the legislation and negotiated the spending plan with Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

“I’m partnering with our mayor and Miami-Dade County and we're going to identify different programs that we believe will be necessary in order to combat gun violence. In my district, particularly, I foresee us being able to use dollars to provide training for young people so that they have employment opportunities ...so that they are brought into the fold of what it takes to be a citizen of Miami-Dade County,” Hardemon said.

Heat Arena’s New Name To Help Fight Gun Violence

Workplace Vaccination Requirements

As the population becomes more inoculated, businesses are rethinking their work from home policies.

While some tech companies are allowing employees to maintain their current arrangements, many organizations are mandating employees come back into the office.

Can a company require that an employee get vaccinated?

“A job certainly with first responders, public health workers, that's a no brainer. But an office job is a little bit dicier. The company would likely take the position for the health and safety of its workers and because the workers maybe aren't socially distanced at the office and they can't socially distance at the office, the vaccines are required,” said Michael Elkins of MLE Law, a Fort Lauderdale firm that specializes in labor and employment.

“When you're talking about employment law, there's the legal side and then there's the practical side. Sometimes those two do not go together. The fact of the matter is, employers generally can mandate that employees get vaccinated, subject to some limitations with respect to disability issues, with respect to potential religious accommodation,” said Elkins.

More than eight million Floridians have received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Workplace Vaccination Requirements
Minnesota has administered about 39% of the vaccine doses it has received. About 1.5% of the state's population has been vaccinated.

Joan Didion’s ‘Miami’

Miami of the 1980s is shrouded in a level of nostalgia and mystique.

From the documentary Cocaine Cowboys about the city’s role in trafficking narcotics to television shows like Miami Vice, the era has become infamous in our collective memory.

Joan Didion’s 1987 book Miami seeks to unravel some of that mystery by going into extensive detail about the role of Cuban exiles in shaping South Florida politics, culture and the economy.

It’s the April selection for the Sundial Book Club.

Didion declined to join Sundial for this interview. Instead, we held a panel discussion with former Sun Sentinel book reviewer and journalist Chauncey Mabe and Pedro Medina Leon, Peruvian author and winner of the Florida Book Award.

Join the book club here.

Joan Didion’s ‘Miami’
Miami by Joan Didion

Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.