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Coronavirus in Florida latest: Reopening scenes, Plant City nursing home outbreak

Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday, May 5.
Shoppers come and go from the Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg on Monday, the first day the mall reopened under a relaxed statewide stay-at-home order.
Shoppers come and go from the Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg on Monday, the first day the mall reopened under a relaxed statewide stay-at-home order. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published May 5, 2020

Much of the state reopened Monday with Floridians allowed to dine inside restaurants, visit beaches and shop at retailers earlier deemed non-essential. But as the state moves to restart its economy, the number of coronavirus cases continued to grow by the hundreds.

Florida on Monday saw 819 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total of reported infections to 36,897. The state reported 20 new deaths, including three in the Tampa Bay region. The statewide death toll now stands at 1,423.

Outbreak at Plant City nursing home

A Plant City nursing home is dealing with an outbreak of 72 coronavirus cases among staff and residents, according to the state. So far, 55 residents at the Community Convalescent Center, also known as Community Care Center, have tested positive for the virus and were transferred out of the center. Seventeen staff members also tested positive.

DeSantis orders investigation into unemployment system

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he will ask his inspector general to investigate the contract with the company that built Florida’s broken unemployment website seven years ago.

DeSantis has pushed back on criticism of how he has handled the pandemic in the state, trying to position himself as a conservative coronavirus success story.

Scenes from the re-opening

Tampa Bay Times reporters spent Monday covering how the re-opening went in this region.

Pinellas County’s iconic beaches reopened with a heavy law enforcement presence to ensure proper social distancing. After some initial confusion, the city of Tampa confirmed that its four beaches would also reopen at 2 p.m. Monday. And some parks, pools, preserves and trails across the region reopened, giving residents more places to shake off the stay-at-home stir-craziness.

Many local restaurants welcomed diners for sit-down meals. Here’s what that looked like.

Shoppers who hit malls on both sides of the bay found a lot of still-shuttered stores.

Facing mounting bills and a big hit to their revenue, smaller retailers were eager to get back to business.

With more options available under fewer restrictions, people had to decide for themselves what felt safe and what seemed foolish. This latest chapter brought fear for some, joy for others.

Tampa Bay area doctors proceed with caution

Doctor and dentist offices are among the many businesses slowly reopening their practices, but many private practices are moving slower than restaurants or retail businesses, maintaining the coronavirus-era precautions.

Pinellas offers testing for all

Pinellas County began offering no-cost COVID-19 testing to all residents for the first time, even if they are not displaying symptoms. Find out the locations of testing sites and hours of operation in this story.

Jury trial suspension extended

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady has extended the suspension of jury trials to July 2 as part of continuing efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Charges against Pinellas game shop owner dropped

Prosecutors have dropped charges against a Pinellas Park business owner accused of violating state and local stay-at-home orders. Find out why here.

Students adapt

Students are figuring out how to keep themselves busy, connect with friends and stay hopeful. Here’s what 15 of them from across the Tampa Bay area told the Tampa Bay Times about how the pandemic is affecting their day-to-day lives.

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