Coronavirus

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Florida will remain under a state of emergency because of COVID-19 for at least two more months, including during the part of the Republican National Convention that will be in Jacksonville in late August.

Mayor Lenny Curry during a protest, speaking to another person who has on a mask, they're both in a large crowd.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said he believes his countywide mandate is not government overreach or illegal. 

Anthony Sabatini at the foot of the steps of the courthouse, behind him on the steps are people with signs protesting the mask mandate.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Outside the Duval County Courthouse, more than 100 unmasked protesters joined Florida House Rep. Anthony Sabatini as he announced a lawsuit against the city of Jacksonville to remove its current countywide mask ordinance.

Charles Webb Wesconnett Regional Library / Jacksonville Public Library

The Jacksonville Public Library system announced Monday in a tweet that the Charles Webb Wesconnett Regional Library on the Westside has been closed for a deep cleaning after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

JEA's Downtown headquarters building is pictured behind Jacksonville's City Hall.
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

People facing eviction can’t be tossed out of their homes until August 1 thanks to a statewide moratorium on evictions. But JEA customers who are behind on their bills could see their electricity and water turned-off starting Thursday, July 9.

Melissa Ross / WJCT News

Three new federally funded COVID-19 testing sites are opening in Jacksonville on Wednesday, July 8, at 8 a.m. 

VIA NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Florida’s COVID-19 cases have raced passed 200,000 with thousands of positive test results pouring in every day.

Michelle Corum/WJCT News

Crowd restrictions and physical distancing are causing some Jacksonville couples to scale back plans for their nuptials. They're opting for what one local event planner calls, "micro-weddings." 

Outside of City Hall, large building with steps leading to the entrance, a couple of palm trees out in the front
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry gave his reasoning for a countywide mask mandate Wednesday afternoon. 

Meeting Tuesday in special session, the Pensacola City Council voted unanimously to both extend the local state of emergency, and to require face coverings inside buildings within the city limits.

Before the vote on mandatory face masks for businesses in the city limits, Council President Jewel Cannada-Wynn gave Pensacolians a pep talk of sorts about complying with what many call the “new norm.”

TALLAHASSEE --- Face shields, temperature checks and disposable pens are just some of the safeguards Florida officials plan to employ to combat COVID-19, as they brace for elections in August and November.

Collectively, Florida’s 67 county supervisors of elections have decades of experience responding to disasters. They’ve combatted hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and even the historic Bush v. Gore meltdown in 2000.

FAMU To Receive $50,000 To Buy Laptops For Students

Jul 1, 2020

Florida A & M University is using a $50,000 grant to buy more than 60 laptops for students who need one. The college was one of five historically black universities to be granted money from Vanguard, an investment advising firm.

FAMU's Shawnte Friday-Stroud says after switching to remote learning amid the pandemic, students didn't have access to computer labs, which led the university to realize that many students needed personal laptops to support the software teachers use.

There will be no Jumbo Shrimp games this summer at 121 Financial Ballpark
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 2020 season has been cancelled as part Minor League Baseball’s decision to cancel its season.

File photo of a classroom.
Jon Super / Associated Press

Duval County students returning to the classroom this fall will sit behind protective barriers meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

A new analysis that researchers at Harvard conducted for NPR finds that although Florida is doing more COVID-19 testing, it’s falling well short of the number of tests that need be done to trace and ultimately suppress the virus.

The Sunshine Bus Company

The Sunshine Bus Company in St. Johns County is being cautious as it enters the second phase of its reopening plan.

The Bogey Grille
The Bogey Grille / Via Facebook

Bogey Grille, which has been a fixture in Ponte Vedra Beach for more than 16 years, will be going out of business later this week.

Gov. Brian Kemp won't make face masks mandatory, but he's visiting Albany, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Savannah and Valdosta ahead of the holiday weekend to encourage everyone to heed public health advice and wear a mask to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

Kemp also extended the public health state of emergency to Aug. 11. The emergency order was set to expire at the end of this month.

Picture of a Skyway train at Hemming Park Station.
JTA

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority announced Monday afternoon it is following the city’s new face mask mandate.

Mayor Lenny Curry adjusting his mask, someone to his left staring at him, signs in the background, courthouse also in the background.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Starting Monday, June 29 at 5 p.m., a mask mandate in Duval County goes into effect. At all indoor and public locations where social distancing isn’t possible, a mask will be required. 

The chief executive of Sarasota Memorial Hospital said Friday it’s “scary” how fast COVID-19 cases are rising and that younger patients are increasingly among those hospitalized.

After seeing the number of COVID patients at the hospital dip to eight in May, and even a brief period when the intensive care unit had no COVID patients for a few days, CEO David Verinder said the outlook has worsened.

Florida Looks For ‘Way Forward’ On Bars

Jun 29, 2020

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida’s ban on serving alcohol to people in bars will be reevaluated daily, the state’s top business regulator said in a series of tweets over the weekend that also offered apologies for the crackdown.

Governor Ron DeSantis says Florida is still in good shape despite rising coronavirus cases. He's focusing on the positivity rate—which has gone up from four to five percent in May to 12%.

"The increase cases are being driven a lot of it because you are seeing much more spread amongst the younger demographic. I think that that positivity rate we'd like to turn that and get that going in a downward direction," DeSantis says.

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. 

ORLANDO – Florida’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday against a former used-car salesman and restaurant employee who challenged the authority of Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue virus-related shutdown orders.

 The decision affirms that DeSantis has broad emergency powers under state law to protect public health and safety. The ruling said the pandemic was a “natural emergency” under Florida’s emergency management law, and DeSantis was within his rights when he closed restaurants and bars earlier this year, among other actions.

As coronavirus cases continue rising in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is dismissing calls for a statewide order requiring people to wear face masks. That's led several counties to pass face mask ordinances to prevent the virus from spreading. However, those moves are not without push-back.

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.

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.

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.
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

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

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