Due to a spike in new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations this week, many cities and counties in Florida are now requiring face coverings in public.

DeSantis with a mask in his hand walking away from a podium
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Florida saw over 8,900 confirmed coronavirus cases Friday morning, a new daily record, per the state Department of Health’s latest update. 

The coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation's top carbon dioxide emitters, stands in the distance in Juliette, GA.
Branden Camp / Associated Press

The JEA Board of Directors unanimously approved a transaction on Friday that will lead to the closure of one unit at the coal-fired Scherer power plant in Georgia, which is one of the single largest point sources of carbon emissions in the country. 

The USS Jacksonville
U.S. Navy

The USS Jacksonville has a new commander to lead the sub on what is expected to be its final chapter with the Navy.


That haze in the air around the First Coat Friday is dust from the Sahara Desert.

Jason DeCrow / Associated Press

Fans of the late Tom Petty are in for a treat.


On Friday’s episode of First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, our Media Roundtable discussed some of the top stories impacting Northeast Florida this week, including:

State Suspends Alcohol Consumption At Bars 'Effective Immediately'

Jun 26, 2020
File photo of people drinking beer
Mark Lennihan / Associated Press

Friday the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) announced it is suspending drinking alcohol at bars, "effectively immediately."

Downtown St. Augustine, on the water's edge
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

St. Augustine City Commission voted unanimously on Friday to enforce an indoor mask mandate, with enforcement beginning Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Ryan Ketterman / Via Winn-Dixie

Jacksonville-based supermarket chain Winn-Dixie is getting national attention due to its name. The word “Dixie” is a nickname for the Civil War-era South. 

Climate strikers gather in front of Jacksonville City Hall in September of 2019.
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

A recent poll from Florida Atlantic University finds that the coronavirus pandemic has not significantly changed the way Floridians feel about climate change.

Fireworks are pictured being launched from the Acosta Bridge in Downtown Jacksonville on Nov. 30, 2019.

This year the city of Jacksonville is expanding its fireworks show to six locations around town.

Mayo Clinic

Plans are in the works at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville to be able to substantially reduce the time patients spend in the hospital.

The "River Runner" bronze statues in front of The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel are pictured with face masks in this May 9 photo. The Hyatt is the largest and closest hotel to the site of part of the RNC.

Some are calling for a citywide mask ordinance ahead of part of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Jacksonville this August.

William Loring monument, etched in it is a confederate flag, in a park, with two people sitting in a bench behind it.
Via Mary Cobb

St. Augustine activists successfully pushed for the removal of a confederate obelisk from the city plaza this week, and now they’re shifting their full attention to another Confederate monument erected in the city. 

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee



On Wednesday, the state saw its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases



Getting more people to wear face masks when they’re out in public is gathering momentum in St. Johns County.

Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

At least three Fernandina Beach restaurants are reporting COVID-19 cases among their employees, forcing more shutdowns, reopenings and rethinking.

Heather Huffman speaking at the podium next to a sign language interpreter. Inside of the Clay County board of commissioners room
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Clay County’s recently reported COVID-19 case numbers have been fluctuating in the state’s online database. 


The Jacksonville Transportation Authority held a virtual “State of the JTA” address Wednesday morning, speaking about future projects and summing up 2019. 

The Wolfburg family

A new fellowship program is meant to help Duval County teachers encourage diversity and nurture inclusion at school.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry
City of Jacksonville

Mayor Lenny Curry says, effective immediately, city code enforcement will be monitoring businesses throughout Jacksonville to make sure state ordered capacity guidelines are being followed.

Jacksonville Beach 2019 file photo

A study out this week by Blacktower Financial Management Group ranked Florida at the top of the 50 states for retirees in 2020.

Jae C. Hong / Associated Press file photo

Duval County Public Schools will be reopening for the fall semester on August 10, although online learning will still play a big role.


A new poll conducted by UNF’s Public Opinion Research Lab shows widespread local opposition to the Republican National Convention coming to Jacksonville this summer, as well as increased levels of concern over coronavirus and its effects. 

City Council Approves $16.54M for 72 Businesses, Nonprofits

Jun 24, 2020

The Jacksonville City Council approved spending $16.54 million to help 72 nonprofit and for-profit businesses suffering revenue losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Downtown Jacksonville and the VyStar Memorial Veterans Arena, where part of the RNC will be held, are pictured.

Some city leaders may be ecstatic that Jacksonville will host part of the Republican National Convention in August, but the majority of residents are less than thrilled by the idea, according to a new University of North Florida public opinion poll, which touched on a wide array of topics.

State Defends ICU Capability, Reporting Changes

Jun 23, 2020
Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

Florida has more intensive-care unit capability than a state website indicates, a top health-care regulator said Tuesday, as the DeSantis administration defended a decision to change how hospitals report available ICU beds to the state.

Skyline view of the St. Johns River and Downtown Jax.
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Initially, Jacksonville city officials thought they received $159 million in Federal CARES Act funding. 


A recent RABA Research poll commissioned by Republican Voters Against Trump found that 49% of those surveyed disapproved of Jacksonville hosting President Trump’s nomination speech, while only 39% supported it.