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What’s (not) happening? What’s off and still on this pandemic Memorial Day Weekend

Many events have been replaced by virtual ceremonies.

The reopening of Florida non-essential business doesn’t mean leaders are anxious for Memorial Day crowds. Florida Politics rounded up those activities canceled as the state continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been replaced with remote alternatives, as well as those going ahead as scheduled.

Bay Pines VA Healthcare System: Virtual

The Tampa Bay-based facility will host a virtual ceremony on its Facebook page at 10 a.m. Monday, according to TBN Weekly.

Beal Memorial Ceremony, Fort Walton Beach: Canceled, Virtual

While the ceremony has not been canceled, organizers encouraged individuals to stay home and instead check the Beal Memorial Veterans Tribute Tower Facebook page at 9 a.m. on Memorial Day, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

Flags For Fallen Vets, Bushnell: Canceled

The event at Florida National Cemetery has been canceled, according to Villages News. The cemetery at the moment has limitations on the number of individuals allowed at burials and cannot accommodate crowds.

Island H2O Live, Orlando: Open

The water park attached to Margaritaville Resort Orlando will open on Saturday after being closed for months over the coronavirus, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Jacksonville Jazz Festival: Canceled

The five-day event planned over Memorial Day Weekend has been canceled this year, but WJCT-TV announced a virtual Jazz Festival Weekend will continue, according to News4JaxThat will include broadcasts of such greats as Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.

City of Largo: Virtual

The Largo Honor  Guard, Police and Mayor Woody Brown will host a virtual ceremony Monday at 7 p.m. on public access TV and the city Facebook page, TBN Weekly reports.

Miami Beach: Closed

While Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the okay for Miami-Dade County and municipalities within to reopen this week, Miami Beach will keep its beaches closed through the holiday weekend, reports WFSU.

Oldsmar Memorial Day: Canceled

The city’s annual festivities were canceled entirely this year over the pandemic.

Pinellas Beaches: Maybe

The plan right now is for beaches to remain open for Memorial Day weekend as scheduled, but Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said he will turn people away if crowds begin to swell, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Santa Rosa County ceremony: Canceled

The event in Milton was called off, the Pensacola News Journal reports. County Commissioners honored military sacrifices at a commission meeting instead.

Sarasota Memorial Day Parade: Canceled

The Sarasota Patriotic Observance Committee announced in April it will not hold the annual event, and will dedicate resources instead to an upcoming Veterans Day Parade and ceremony, SRQ Media reports.

Sparkman’s Wharf, Tampa: Open

The downtown area will reopen Tuesday and remain open through Memorial Day weekend. In fact, while the area is normally closed Mondays, it will stay open from noon to 8 p.m. as part of a celebration, according to Creative Loafing.

Veterans Memorial Park ceremony, Pensacola: Canceled

No formal ceremony will take place this year, but names and photos of soldiers are being posted and honored virtually on the Veterans Memorial Park Facebook page.

Virtual Honor Our Heroes 5K Run, Oldsmar Cares: Virtual

Who says 5K runs have to be done in unison? Oldsmar Cares will present its run on Saturday. Individuals can register their run at flracer@yahoo.com and later pick up a T-shirt at Tampa Bay Brewing Company’s Westchase location, TBN Weekly reports.

Vacation Rentals

The following counties have had plans approved to allow short-term vacation rentals ahead of Memorial Day weekend: Bay, Citrus, Clay, Charlotte, Collier, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gilchrist, Gulf, Lee, Lafayette, Levy, Manatee, Nassau, Okaloosa, Osceola, Pinellas, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Sumter, St. Johns, Wakulla, Walton.

Email jacobogles@hotmail.com with more Florida cancellations and events.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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