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Coronavirus

Coronavirus live updates: Here’s what to know in South Florida on June 1

 

We’re keeping track of the latest news regarding the coronavirus in South Florida and around the state. Check back for updates throughout the day.

UNEMPLOYMENT ‘WAITING ROOM’ FRUSTRATES USERS

6:30 p.m.: Unemployed Floridians are now required to “wait in line” to use the state’s unemployment website, further aggravating people who were already fed up with the system.

Rather than allowing people to automatically log in to the state site, called CONNECT, users now have to enter a virtual “waiting room” with wait times longer than an hour. Users’ progress is indicated by a stick figure walking across the screen.

The new process prompted out-of-work Floridians to email reporters and take to Twitter in exasperation. CONNECT is routinely taken down on the weekends and at night, and some users said Monday they were kicked out even after waiting more than an hour to log in.

Read the full story here.

 

CONFUSION REIGNS AS EVICTION MORATORIUM NEARS END

5:45 p.m.: Florida’s 63-day moratorium on evictions and foreclosures ends Tuesday, and there’s not exactly clarity on what it might mean.

In Miami-Dade and Broward counties, police won’t be forcing people from their homes. Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said Monday a countywide ban on evictions will continue as long as the emergency order continues and there’s no plan to lift the ban. In Broward County, the sheriff’s office suspended evictions “until further notice” in March.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he had not yet made a decision whether to extend the moratorium. Helen Aguirre Ferre, director of communications for DeSantis, said in an email there was “nothing at this time” when asked if the governor had made a decision about the extension Monday.

Read the full story here.

TOURISTS RETURN TO FLORIDA KEYS

1:12 p.m.: There were no traffic jams on the roads leading south to the Florida Keys on Monday, but tourists have begun to steadily trickle back to the island chain.

A series of checkpoints along the two roads leading to the popular tourist destination came down Sunday — a few hours earlier than planned — and visitors made their way into Monroe County. Traffic was steady heading to the Keys early Monday.

“The phones are ringing,” said Phil Amsterdam, owner of Amsterdam’s Curry Mansion Inn in Key West. “People are booking for July and August.”

Read the full story here.

FLORIDA’S UPDATED CASE NUMBERS

12:15 p.m.: Florida has 667 more positive cases of COVID-19 as the fourth month of the pandemic begins. The daily total announced Monday is the lowest since Wednesday, when the state announced just 379 confirmed cases.

The Florida Department of Health update Monday also included nine new deaths, increasing the state’s death toll to 2,460. The total case count now stands at 56,830.

Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County both accounted for 139 of the new cases. Monroe County has one new case as checkpoints separating the Florida Keys from the rest of the state came down Sunday.

Read the full story here.

MLS PLAYERS TAKE STEP TO RETURN. NOW THEY WAIT ON OWNERS.

11:30 a.m.: Major League Soccer took another step toward re-starting when the MLS Players Association announced Sunday it had approved a proposal including economic concessions, pay cuts across the board, and resumption of the season with a summer tournament in Bay Lake.

The package was submitted to league owners for approval. If the owners accept the offer, all 26 teams would likely convene in Central Florida later this month to compete in a World Cup-style tournament at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Inter Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles is on the MLSPA’s executive board.

Owners, however, are pushing back against the players’ proposal, ESPN reported.

Read the full story here.

Miami Dolphins Chris Grier, left, and head coach Brian Flores, right, participate in a food drive event at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Monday, June 1, 2020. The Miami Dolphins Foundation announced a multi-million-dollar commitment where they will provide a minimum of 1,000 meals each weekday up to a 12-month period to families in need in Miami Gardens through a voucher system. MATIAS J. OCNER mocner@miamiherald.com

GIMENEZ: ‘I BELIEVE WE’LL HAVE FOOTBALL HERE THIS FALL’

11 a.m.: The Miami Dolphins began an ambitious one-year, $4-million meal-distribution program Monday at Hard Rock Stadium and Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez made an appearance in Miami Gardens for the program’s first day. While at the Dolphins’ home stadium, Gimenez expressed optimism about football returning to the stadium in the fall.

“I believe we’ll have football here this fall,” Gimenez said. “We can work with the Dolphins and the NFL to have football here. Whether there are going to be fans is another story.”

Gimenez said he has talked with the team about potentially allowing fans in at 15- or 20-percent capacity, which would be about 13,000 people. The NFL is not permitting team personnel to discuss such matters.

The team plan to distribute at least 1,000 meals on stadium grounds every weekday during the next year and another 1,000 on Sundays in conjunction with local restaurants and church groups.

Read the full story here.

Harry Lopez and Melissa McGuire stand by their pickup truck Monday, June 1, 2020, at the beach at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. The couple is vacationing from Orlando. David Goodhue flkeysnews.com

KEYS TAKE FIRST STEPS TOWARD ECONOMIC RECOVERY

10:31 p.m.: Checkpoints separating the Florida Keys from the rest of Florida came down Monday as the Keys begin to reopen to tourism amid COVID-19.

Roadblocks along the two roads heading to the Keys have been up for two months and been mostly effective in prevent the spread of COVID-19, but Monroe County now has the second highest unemployment in the state as tourism has cratered. More than 8,000 people are out of work in the county and it’s still not clear how quickly tourists will return in droves to the popular island chain in South Florida.

“The road to recovery is going to be much harder than after Irma,” said Elizabeth Moscynski, president of the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce. “However, I am confident with all the measures that are in place, the Keys will recover and are going to be one of the best places to vacation.”

Read the full story here.

HURRICANE SEASON MEETS CORONAVIRUS

10 a.m.: Hurricane season is officially underway Monday and the COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of complications in a potentially busy year. If a storm tilts toward Florida, stay-at-home messages will quickly have to shift.

Perhaps the largest challenge is the handling of hurricane shelters, where crowds of people gather indoors for extended periods of time. Last month, Miami-Dade emergency manager Frank Rollason said Miami-Dade County planned to test everyone entering shelter, but now the plan is just to screen them for symptoms. Evacuees will also now be given 36 square feet of space, as opposed to the usual 20.

Read the full story here.

HOTELS REOPEN WITH NEW SET OF RULES

9:33 a.m.: While the beaches aren’t opening up in Miami-Dade County on Monday, hotels are, only with a new set of rules to keep patrons safe as COVID-19 still spreads throughout South Florida.

Hotels are classified as “Phase Blue” under the county’s colored flag system, which indicates it’s hard to safeguard because people are naturally in such close proximity. The county mandates hotels accomodate for social distancing and additional cleaning. Hotels are also requiring guests to wear masks anytime they’re not in their rooms and are implementing “staggered” entry with a limit of 10 people allowed in the lobby at any given time.

Read the full story here.

CATCH UP TO START THE DAY

9 a.m.: Here are the coronavirus headlines to catch you up on what’s happening around South Florida and the state as Monday begins.

Florida has 739 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths, pushing the total number of cases past 56,000.

Beaches won’t reopen Monday in Miami-Dade because of the weekend protests over the death of George Floyd, but community pools can reopen and booking restrictions have been lifted at hotels.

Checkpoints on the two roads leading to the Florida Keys come down Monday. Put in place to stop tourists from coming to the island chain, the roadblocks were mostly effective, keeping the Keys with less than 110 cases of the coronavirus.

The death toll in Florida nursing homes keeps piling up. In the last week, elders living in long-term care facilities have accounted for 7 of 10 COVID-19 deaths in Florida.

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