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  1. Opinion

Now is not the time to give up on social distancing and masks | Letters

Here’s what readers are saying in Monday’s letters to the editor.

New case surge, new wave worries | June 12

Liberty and responsibility hand in hand

On Thursday, Pinellas County experienced the largest single-day number of COVID-19 cases ever recorded. It doesn’t surprise me because it seems as if too many residents aren’t taking the virulence of this pandemic seriously. The few times I have ventured out to a store, I was alarmed to discover that most customers weren’t wearing masks.

Social distancing is not enough without masks. When our leadership doesn’t require sufficient safeguards, it’s up to each one of us to look out for the community at large. It’s actually quite simple how much of an impact we can have individually just by choosing how and where we shop.

If we continue to throw caution to the wind, we will reap what we sow. Those who aren’t being careful can’t complain if strict regulations have to be reestablished. With liberty comes responsibility.

Anne Burnham, Palm Harbor

Racial equality grows in the classroom | June 11

Public education needs more resources

It’s hard to argue with the theme and the points made in the editorial. However, one statement is more than a bit utopian. “A good principal should have...enough money, support staff, social workers...if she needs it at her school, she should get it now.” All that assumes that the school district has enough money to pay teachers, support staff, social workers, buy up-to-date technology and keep the air conditioners running. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The additional help needed to ensure the opportunity for a school to succeed must come from voters who demand that the funding of public education become a top priority of the state legislature.

Richard Warrener, Odessa

As cruise industry prepares to sail, choppy waters are ahead

Ports need your support

Cruise ships can be seen docked at PortMiami on May 15, 2020, in Miami, Florida. MATIAS J. OCNER MOCNER@MIAMIHERALD.COM [ MATIAS J. OCNER | Miami Herald ]

According to the article, the global cruise industry—much of it headquartered in Florida—expected to carry 32 million passengers and take in $71 billion in revenue in 2020, and that revenue is now expected to be cut in half, or even less.

At our ports across the state, the loss of this revenue will result in a tremendous hit to our economy. Florida’s 15 public seaports support nearly 900,000 jobs in the state and contribute $117.6 billion to the state’s economy each year. Port Tampa Bay alone supports 85,000 jobs and has a total $17.2 billion economic impact in its community.

With 95 percent of the goods and services used in the United States traveling through one of our nation’s ports, it is more critical than ever that our ports receive support to keep driving our economic recovery. During this time, we want you to know that Florida’s ports are committed to delivering everything you rely on, whether it’s your iPhone or your dinner. As our ports remain in a state of readiness, we have taken a variety of steps to ensure employee and guest safety, including retrofitting our HVAC systems, enhancing sanitation procedures, installing touch free access points and much more.

However, our cruise sailings—and the millions of visitors who come to our state each year for cruises—are on standby. We will continue to work with local, state and federal health officials to allow U.S. cruises to take to the seas once again. We are also working diligently with our cruise line partners, and national and international cruise organizations, to make sure that every precaution is taken to keep cruise guests safe and healthy when the time comes to sail again.

Doug Wheeler

The writer is the president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Elder abuse matters

Elder abuse is an issue with many consequences ranging from public health to the economy. It comes in many forms, and not only from external sources; many elders suffer from self-abuse. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which occurs every year on June 15, serves as a call-to-action for communities to overcome this systemic social challenge.

Additional support services need to be put in place and community resources should be directed toward addressing elder abuse. We must reaffirm our commitment to strengthening a structure of support through policies, services and programs that keep us integrated in our communities as we age.

Veronica Catoe

The writer is the chief executive officer for the Florida Assisted Living Association.

Profiles in courage | Column, June 10

Why are you abandoning us?

The “profiles in courage” Robert Adolph so lavishly praises in his latest column are the same men who stood by and watched the two previous administrations mire the United States in forever wars without saying a word. They couldn’t stand up against the incoherent policy objectives and flawed strategy that kept us at war for two decades, but they’re all over President Donald Trump for threatening to send federal troops to restore order in certain places in the country where state and local governments were failing utterly in their duty to protect their citizens from anarchy.

The retired generals’ ”principled stand” was just more political theater. The retired military leaders Adolph so lavishly praises were telling riot-devastated communities throughout America that they’re on their own. When cities burn they don’t believe federal troops should be deployed, even when local and state authorities are obviously failing to protect their citizens. Four-star generals advocating for the abandonment of citizens to anarchy is not something I ever expected to see in my lifetime. It’s not a good look.

Martin Stanton, Valrico

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