News

Broward And Palm Beach To Close All Non-Essential Businesses To Contain Coronavirus, Governor Says

Mar 20, 2020
Amy Beth Bennett / South Florida Sun Sentinel

Broward and Palm Beach counties soon will shut down all “non-essential” businesses as part of containing the new coronavirus, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday afternoon.

Mark Hedden / markhedden.com

In a move to prevent the spread of coronavirus, on Thursday evening Monroe County ordered hotels and other tourist lodging — like vacation rentals and RV parks — to close at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The county cited "the increasing cases [of coronavirus] in the counties north of Monroe County." As of 5 p.m. Thursday, there had been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Keys.

Hotels were directed to stop taking reservations immediately. The order is for two weeks, to be re-evaluated every day.

OCTAVIO JONES / AP

Employees at the Florida Department of Health, the state agency that is managing the response to COVID-19, are not being allowed to work from home, even if their jobs are involved in research or other kinds of administrative work, several employees told WLRN.

AL DIAZ / MIAMI HERALD

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Bob Krist / Florida Keys New Bureau

When Marlins Park opened in 2012, a neomodern shrine to baseball rising in Miami’s Little Havana, Duane Thwaites figured he’d found his dream job.

The Brooklyn native moved to Miami nearly 30 years ago, raised his four kids, got hired for opening day and returned every season, climbing the ladder to supervise a concession.

“It's just hard to explain why I like the job and I stick with it, but it's, you know, I feel it's like my passion,” said Thwaites, 51.

Scott Keeler / Tampa Bay Times

On the last day of Florida’s annual legislative session, state lawmakers normally pass the budget for the next fiscal year and then adjourn “sine die” — which means, it’s over until next time.

Then dozens of people crowd into the rotunda between the House and Senate chambers in the Capitol building in Tallahassee, waiting to see the ceremonial ending: Each house’s sergeant at arms drops a handkerchief to the floor at the same time. It’s a tradition that goes back nearly a century.

Coronavirus Cases Suspected In 19 Long-Term Care Facilities In Florida

Mar 19, 2020
John McCall / South Florida Sun Sentinel

The new coronavirus disease widened its attack on Florida’s most vulnerable population this week, with the announcement Wednesday that new cases were suspected or confirmed at 19 long-term care facilities.

The state would not identify the facilities or say where they were located. But one Fort Lauderdale facility may account for some of them.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

COMMENTARY

One of the most popular, and most ridiculous, social media discussions of the past year is the big Capitalism-versus-Socialism Debate. Thanks to President Trump’s right-wing demonization of socialism, and Bernie Sanders’ left-wing demonization of capitalism, folks in America – and in Latin America, thanks to Sanders’ recent kudos to Cuba – have decided it’s an either-or issue.

It’s not, of course. The best societies are always a hybrid of free wealth production and fair wealth redistribution. And the coronavirus pandemic, from São Paulo to Seattle, may finally affirm that commonsense reality across our absurdly polarized hemisphere.

Andrews Ave.
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Several Broward County employees say they are frustrated at a lack of policies and clarity on the ability to work from home while the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across Florida. 

That is despite that fact that the employees say their jobs can easily be done from home, and despite official guidance from the White House suggesting that employees do just that.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald File

To help stop transmission of the coronavirus, many federal immigration facilities have closed as of Tuesday night. But many are staying open in South Florida.

John McCall / Sun Sentinel

A fourth person who could have been exposed to coronavirus at an assisted-living facility in Fort Lauderdale has now been hospitalized, a fire official says.

Three seniors who were residents at Atria Willow Wood have died amid the coronavirus pandemic, sparking fears that more deaths might be coming.

Miami Herald file

Florida voters overwhelmingly chose Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders in Tuesday’s primary election. Access to quality health care plans and paying for health insurance were top of mind for voters as Florida remains under a state of emergency and the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow.

 

Joan Marcus

The coronavirus has upended daily life, shutting down most large events and public spaces, including the theater.

Broadway singer Laura Benanti, who's known for her Tony-award winning role in the 2008 revival of "Gypsy," recently tweeted about the impact the closures would have on high school students, many of whom had planned to perform upcoming musicals.

"As I know for so many of us, I know for me, my high school musical was like a life saver,” she said on Twitter.

Florida is scrapping testing for its K-12 schools, the cornerstone of the state’s schools accountability system, because of growing concerns over the novel coronavirus, said Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday.

Also, the state is extending the time students aren’t on campus, at least until April 15.

Evan Vucci / AP

Florida voters went to the polls Tuesday despite escalating impacts from coronavirus, while across the country in Ohio, the primary election was postponed at the direction of the state's top health officer.

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