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Last Call for 7.2.20 — 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

COVID-19 makes celebrating holidays more difficult and the recent surge in cases doesn’t make things any easier.

But Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Health say Floridians can still celebrate Independence Day as long as they avoid the “Three Cs” — closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.

That means plans for packed backyard barbecues should be shelved, but outdoor activities in wide-open spaces are still in the cards.

Adhering to social distancing guidelines such as wearing a mask and keeping six-feet apart from others is key, too.

“People over the age of 65 and those with underlying conditions are at risk of severe complications from COVID-19 and should avoid crowds and minimize contact outside of the home,” DeSantis said. “As we head into this holiday weekend, I encourage all Floridians to be diligent in avoiding closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings — and remember to wear a mask. Together, we must continue to take the appropriate steps to slow the spread of this virus.”

Surgeon General Scott Rivkees added, “Many asymptomatic individuals are unknowingly carrying the COVID-19 virus in public. Wearing a mask in public settings, frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, and observing the latest social distancing guidelines will also amplify our ongoing efforts in protecting our most vulnerable populations from contracting this virus. Every Floridian has an important role to play in shielding and safeguarding our communities against COVID-19.”

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As coronavirus cases continue to climb, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association is rolling out a new initiative to help diners identify the establishments putting customer and employee safety first.

The FRLA Seal of Commitment demonstrates that the establishment meets thorough safety and sanitation standards outlined by FRLA.

“Employee and guest safety is paramount for Florida’s hospitality industry,” said Carol Dover, FRLA president and CEO. “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, our hotels and restaurants adhered to strict sanitation, food safety and training guidelines.

“With the Seal of Commitment program, we have built on the foundation of those excellent standards to do even more to ensure cleanliness and safety and help build consumer confidence. Establishments can display their awarded Seal as a promise to guests of their strict adherence to these rigorous standards.”

For a business to qualify for the seal, all managers must have a current ServSafe Manager certificate and all employees must have an up-to-date SafeStaff Food Handler certificate or equivalent certification.

Additionally, establishments must meet specific sanitation standards outlined in the FRLA Seal of Commitment Guidelines. Once compliance with these guidelines is confirmed, FRLA will award the Seal of Commitment.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 166,303 FL residents (+10,015 since Wednesday)

— 2,803 Non-FL residents (+94 since Wednesday)

Origin:

— 2,572 Travel related

— 55,882 Contact with a confirmed case

— 2,510 Both

— 105,339 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 15,150 in FL

Deaths:

— 3,718 in FL

Unemployment numbers

As of Wednesday:

Total claims: 2,805,793

— Confirmed unique claims: 2,585,293

— Claim verification queue: 182,200

— Claims processed: 2,403,093

— Claims paid: 1,621,376 (+16,826 since Tuesday)

Total paid out: $8.54 billion (+$220 million since Tuesday)

Evening Reads

Joe Biden is leading in Florida as Donald Trump’s popularity sags” via Steve Contorno and Langston Taylor of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats aim Polk ad blitz at Mike Pence” via Gary White of The Ledger

A Florida retirement community made news for a pro-Trump ‘white power’ video. It is residents are also giving the President’s campaign a swamped load of cash.” via Dave Leventhal of Business Insider

Gov. Ron DeSantis extends work search waiver for unemployment claims” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Weekly jobless claims dipped in Florida” via the News Service of Florida

Another record number of COVID-19 patients at Sarasota Memorial Hospital Thursday” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Coronavirus crushing hospitals in Jacksonville, host of the Republican National Convention” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida

Escambia County down to three ICU beds at area hospitals” via Jim Little of PNJ.com

Texas Governor mandates face masks in public spaces” via Axios

Herman Cain is receiving treatment for coronavirus at an Atlanta hospital” via Veronica Stracqualursi of CNN

9 more NBA players test positive for coronavirus” via Fadel Allassan of Axios

Financial reports are in for Governor and Florida Cabinet members and not everyone is a millionaire” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

DeSantis backs proposals for space force headquarters” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida

Controversial toll road project funding is still intact amid $1 billion in state budget cuts” via Laura Cassels of The Florida Phoenix

Lawsuit aims at saving digital ballot images” via the News Service of Florida

Orlando police officers blast chief in union survey, accuse agency of ‘pandering’ to public outcry” via Tess Sheets of the Orlando Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“We went to phase 1 in May, it was very low cases, low positivity. I think the media was trying to say the numbers were phony. Now they like the numbers because they’re higher. It’s funny how that works. But that was kind of the thing, you actually had people spinning conspiracy theories, saying, ‘oh, Florida’s hiding’ because it was obviously very low, and some folks didn’t want to see that.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, on reporting in the coronavirus era.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

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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