Last Call for 5.28.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Many businesses have received the green light to reopen, but many are left wondering whether it’s the right decision.

Shutdowns were bad enough for business. Being responsible for spurring an uptick in new coronavirus infections wouldn’t be any better.

Tampa General Hospital and the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine are hoping to alleviate those concerns through a new initiative.

The new TGH Prevention Response Outreach deploys the institutions’ in-house expertise on infection prevention to help businesses of all kinds, from barbershops to major tourist attractions, get back to work safely and responsibly.

TGH CEO John Couris said the program has already drawn interest from some staples in the Tampa Bay region. The Florida Aquarium served as a proof of concept. TECO, Busch Gardens and others are on the horizon.

While saturation of coronavirus advice has educated most Americans on wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart, Couris said each business faces unique challenges.

TECO, for instance, would need a plan for housing a platoon of employees in close quarters in the event of a hurricane. Cubicle spacing and rigorous cleaning are a top concern.

But some measures apply to all, and many may slip by business owners, such as contactless hand dryers. At first glance, they seem like a common-sense way to avoid touchpoints. Maybe so, but they also aerosolize the water droplets on people’s hands, possibly spraying the coronavirus onto the walls and sinks in their proximity.

“A smaller business doesn’t have this expertise, nor frankly should they. That’s not a criticism.” Couris said. “As a hospital, we’re here to serve the public health. We’re here to serve as an extra set of eyes. To leverage what we have to improve safety,” Couris said.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 51,918 FL residents (+635 since Wednesday)

— 1,367 Non-FL residents (+16 since Wednesday)


— 2,107 Travel related

— 24,294 Contact with a confirmed case

— 1,994 Both

— 23,523 Under investigation


— 9,795 in FL


— 2,364 in FL

Unemployment numbers

As of Wednesday:

Total claims: 2,216,176

— Confirmed unique claims: 1,952,979

— Claim verification queue: 328,858

— Claims processed: 1,624,121

— Claims paid: 1,043,969 (+25,673 since Tuesday)

Total paid out: $3.63 billion (+$100 million since Tuesday)

Evening Reads

The world is still far from herd immunity for coronavirus” via Nadja Popovich and Margot Singer-Katz of The New York Times

Donald Trump escalating war on Twitter, social media protections” via Zeke Miller of The Associated Press

White House won’t release formal economic projections this summer” via Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post

Vote by mail helps Florida Republicans. So why is Trump bashing it?” via Allison Ross of the Tampa Bay Times

Val Demings latest Vice President prospect to address Everytown forum” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

U.S. layoffs climb to 41 million, despite business reopenings“ via Christopher Rugaber and Dan Sewell of The Associated Press

Justice Department makes probe of George Floyd death a priority” via Erin Ailworth, Ben Kesling and Sadie Gurman of The Wall Street Journal

It would be irresponsible’ — Tampa Bay Mayors say no way to hosting RNC” via Josh Solomon of the Tampa Bay Times

Ron DeSantis, Florida Cabinet ignore Nikki Fried and barely talk about coronavirus in first meeting since February” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel

Nikki Fried seizes opportunity, swipes at Gov. DeSantis during Cabinet meeting” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Florida state primary opponent of Jewish candidate takes anti-Semitic pot shots” via Jackson Richman of the Jewish News Syndicate

While a Coral Springs cop, Sheriff  Gregory Tony used city email to obtain records, build his private training business” via Dan Christensen of the Florida Bulldog

Simple math tells a horrid story of unemployment claims in FL — but the state’s data isn’t easy to find” via Diane Rado of the Florida Phoenix

Sprouting future continues for Florida Forever” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Childbirth in the age of coronavirus: Parents in South Florida balance joy and fear” via Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald

COVID-19 has likely quickened the end of malls as we knew them” via Sara DiNatale of the Tampa Bay Times

Most Floridians stressed over hurricane season overlapping with COVID-19, survey shows” via the staff of Florida Politics

Wearable tech can spot coronavirus symptoms before you even realize you’re sick” via Geoffrey A. Fowler of The Washington Post

Tom Lee could shake up Florida politics with a bid for Hillsborough Clerk” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

“Each of us was independently elected by the people of this great state. Each of us received more than 4 million votes and was put here to do a job. In the most critical of nearly four months of this pandemic, this Cabinet has been left in the dark.” — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, during the Cabinet’s first meeting since February.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Jesse Scheckner, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

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