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Coronavirus in Florida latest: Deaths climb past 1,200, re-opening starts Monday

Here’s what you need to know for Thursday, April 30.
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the 2019 novel coronavirus.
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the 2019 novel coronavirus. [ AP ]
Published Apr. 30, 2020

Florida reported 49 more deaths related to the novel coronavirus Wednesday, pushing the state’s official death toll past 1,200. Nine of the new deaths were from the greater Tampa Bay region.

Governor announces reopening plan

Florida will start reopening on Monday under a three-phase plan Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday. In the first phase, restaurants, retail stores, museums and libraries can open with limited capacity and social distancing. Schools, bars, gyms, spas and salons will remain closed. Read more about the plan here.

Tampa parks, beaches to remain closed

The city of Tampa’s parks and beaches will remain closed for now, Mayor Jane Castor said Wednesday. She didn’t give a date for when she expects they will reopen but said she preferred to focus on getting small businesses and service operators back on their feet and reopening before turning to parks and beaches.

Another HART driver tests positive

Two Hillsborough bus drivers have now tested positive for the coronavirus, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority confirmed Wednesday. The most recent case is a bus driver who last worked April 22. More on this story, including the driver’s routes, here.

Local nonprofits wait for relief

Some non-profits in Tampa Bay have received relief through the Paycheck Protection Plan, but others are still waiting. Local leaders say the loan program’s first round was hampered by a pool of money that quickly ran dry and rules that didn’t seem to align with how nonprofits operate.

Theme park changes expected

It’s not clear when Florida’s theme parks will reopen, but experts say visitors can expect changes when the attractions open their gates. Here are five ways the parks will be different when they open again.

Where face-covering is a pleasure

Back in March, Publix employees were told they couldn’t wear cloth masks on the job. Now, everyone can buy a two-pack of Publix branded masks for $15.95.

Grim Reaper hits the beach

A Florida lawyer seeking to send a message that some beaches are opening too early amid the coronavirus pandemic says he’s going to visit the sandy shores dressed as the Grim Reaper.

PolitiFact: Can mosquitoes spread coronavirus?

Here’s an item that will be of interest to Floridians. Misleading claims on social media have spread the myth that with summer around the corner, mosquitoes are another way that COVID-19 will spread. Find PolitFact’s rating on this here.

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