Please let me go to the library
Local museums to remain closed | May 2
I am 72 years old. I do not go to the beach. I rarely eat in restaurants. I can get by without getting my hair cut or my nails done. There is very little on television I consider worth watching. I wear a mask when I go to the grocery store and make liberal use of hand sanitizer and soap and water. I maintain social distancing even from my family though we are all in good health. Please explain why I am unable to go to the library. The logic, if there is any, for keeping it closed escapes me.
Julia Larson, St. Petersburg
Aquarium is a good start
As a long-time member of the Florida Aquarium, my heart broke as they, along with so many other not-for-profits, had to shut their doors in March. I recently attended the opening for members this past weekend. The efforts that they have gone to are visible everywhere. Their team has done an amazing job by limiting entry. I was thrilled to see their staff and indications throughout the property as to how to flow.
You can tell that many critters missed the human interaction, especially the otters. Kudos to this dedicated team — while we are all carefully determining where it is safe to go, put this gem of a nonprofit on your list. They are doing all they can to ensure a safe and really enjoyable visit.
Robin Moch, Tampa
Not what we expected
Mother’s Day out
My wife and I were excitedly looking forward to a long awaited dine-in experience on Mother’s Day at a local restaurant. We are both reluctant members of that COVID-19 “vulnerability” club, and follow, as best we can, the current public health guidelines for both personal and social behaviors.
We were sadly disappointed with this restaurant’s re-opening protocol. We noticed no demonstrable prevention activities — face masks on servers, wiping down of tables and reusable menus with proper antiseptic products and limiting of inside seating capacity to the mandated 25 percent of occupancy. Luckily, we were equipped with our own disinfectant products.
In all fairness, this was Mother’s Day, and the numbers in dining groups were larger than normal, as families gathered to celebrate. But going forward, if eating establishments want our business, they need to demonstrate their commitment to their customers’ health and safety, especially to members of our “vulnerability” club. Show us that you care, and we’ll gladly give you our business.
Steve Garrett, Safety Harbor
Rental assistance needed
We are paying our rent, for now | May 9
A home is the best way to keep people healthy from COVID-19. But the safety of having a home is under threat for millions of Americans.
COVID-19 has created levels of unemployment not seen in the U.S. in decades. When people cannot work, they cannot pay the rent. Even with some getting unemployment insurance, millions are still falling behind, putting low-income renters under the threat of eviction and homelessness. Emergency rental assistance and stopping evictions will help renters stay housed and safe until this crisis passes.
Homelessness and eviction do not have to be the legacies of COVID-19. I urge our members of Congress to quickly pass legislation that includes at least $100 billion for emergency rental assistance and a national moratorium on evictions.
Didier Bizimungu, St. Petersburg
A failure to respond in crisis
DeSantis resists full testing | May 14
After 20 years of Republican rule and cutting back government, we are left with a government incapable of responding in time of crisis. Gov. Ron DeSantis says the government does not have the resources to do the type of testing done in other states. Meanwhile deaths in facilities represent 42 percent of the deaths in Florida. With the state loosening up its restrictions, the death toll at senior facilities can only get worse.
Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach
Trump lacks the right stuff
I thoroughly enjoyed this article about leadership, and it clearly points out that what we have been getting from the Trump administration is everything but leadership. Trump and his appointees repeatedly demonstrate that they lack all four essential qualities described by Adolph: integrity, caring, competence and humility.
Guy Hancock, Largo
It’s really your decision
Outdoor dining may sound great right now, but wait until the temperatures reach 90-100, and out of nowhere the rains come down. The restaurants have to make a choice: fewer customers eating in comfort, or miserable complaining customers eating outside. If they play by the rules, the capacity numbers will open up, and it will be life almost like it used to be. They just have to decide.
Judy Lavaron, St. Petersburg
A system designed to fail
In his column, Daniel Ruth mentioned the current state of the Florida unemployment system. He is exactly right. The system was designed to fail. This is classic Republicanism at its finest (actually, worst). For those unemployed folks who are staunch Republicans, remember this in November. What is happening with unemployment is the Republican way! This is what you voted for. Good luck!
Gregory Parmenter, Largo