Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

Owing to the pandemic and after discussions with local partners and officials, organizers of Pensacon are pushing back the annual event to later this year, at least.

Originally set for Feb. 26-28, organizers are now searching for new dates.

“Obviously, the first concern is safety; we’ve seen a spike where we’re sitting at the worst we’ve been since this pandemic began in cases and deaths. We just don’t think it’s the right time. We want to make sure everybody’s safe, first and foremost,” said Pensacon founder and CEO Mike Ensley.

After stops in Fort Myers and Orlando last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis continued his tour of Florida medical centers on Sunday, with a stop at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.

As of Sunday, there were 8,530 new positive cases reported with 29 fatalities, according to the Florida Department of Health. Florida broke its single-day record for COVID-19 cases again Saturday with 9,585 cases in 24 hours. That brings the overall total of 141,000 cases and 3,419 fatalities.

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Florida is reporting nearly 3,500 new cases of the coronavirus, a dip from the record-breaking numbers of recent days. However, there are no changes on the horizon when it comes to Pensacola’s reopening schedule.

Dan Domenzain

Have you or someone you know been infected by the coronavirus? Are you sure?

“I’m not getting any medical care because there’s nothing that they can do for me,” said Cheryl Sackman. She is over 65, has tested positive for the coronavirus, and, well, she feels fine.

In fact, the only reason Sackman even got a test for the virus was to satisfy her mother.


Plans are under development for the reopening of the University of West Florida, which could be approved as early as next month.

“I think that what I’m hearing is, [faculty, staff and students] are trusting the leadership to make sensible decisions,” said UWF President Martha Saunders.

The major step closer to getting back to business as usual is for the Florida Board of Governors to approve its blueprint for reopening. The 12 state institutions will use it to develop their own frameworks, which are due in to the board on June 12, with review on June 23. 

Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Florida

The coronavirus pandemic is changing life for individuals, businesses and charities in Pensacola — the latter including Ronald McDonald House at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital.

Opening in 1984 in a six-bedroom house, the facility has grown to a 26-bedroom complex that opened in 2010. Director of Development Summer Jimmerson says more than 10,000 families have been served.

“We have 26 bedrooms in the house, so anywhere from 55-70 people at any given time,” said Jimmerson, referring to normal conditions.

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Sunday, May 10

638 cases in Escambia; death toll at 18

As of 10 a.m., Escambia County has had 638 positive COVID-19 cases.

The total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Escambia County residents is 18 individuals.

6 deaths in state; 595 new positive cases

From the state department of health:

Today, as of 10 a.m. Central, there are 595 new positive COVID-19 cases (588 Florida residents and 7 non-Florida residents) and six deaths related to COVID-19.

City of Pensacola

As part of Phase-1 of reopening businesses in Pensacola that were closed down by the coronavirus outbreak, merchants can get some advice on the limits under which they’re coming back.

“This service is provided as a courtesy of the city of Pensacola to the business community; you’re certainly welcome to contact the fire services,” said Mayor Grover Robinson, who in his weekly news conference read Executive Order 20-112 from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Industrial supply chains and how to maintain them in the coronavirus age were the topics of this week’s virtual round table discussion, hosted by the University of West Florida.

Representatives from a number of Pensacola-area business joined the discussion on ZOOM. The moderator was Scott Keller, a Professor of Marketing and Logistics at UWF.

“It’s broader than just Pensacola but it certainly is focused in our region,” said Keller. “Just to discuss important topics, ideas and issues surrounding supply chain and logistics impacting our region during this pandemic.”

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Friday, May 1

46 more deaths in Florida

Since 11 a.m. Thursday, 46 people have died who tested positive for COVID-19 in Broward, Charlotte, Dade, Hillsborough, Lake, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties.

There are a total of 34,728 Florida cases with 1,314 deaths related to COVID-19.

Another Escambia death; cases at 532

As of 3:30 p.m. today, Escambia County has had 532 positive COVID-19 cases. The number of COVID-19-related deaths in Escambia County residents is 12 individuals.

City of Pensacola

Mayor Grover Robinson is out with his draft "Recover Pensacola" plan — a framework for reopening the city safely and helping the local economy recover from COVID-19.

At issue for what reopens, where and when, is the number of hospitalizations in the area and the impact the coronavirus is having on first responders. Robinson says they’re watching that and basing decisions on the city’s color indicator – green, yellow, and red.

Governor Ron DeSantis Facebook

About 60 percent of coronavirus cases and fatalities have been in South Florida according to the governor, who added that hospitalizations, deaths and positive cases have slowed elsewhere — clearing the way for an economic jump start.Fresh off his meeting with President Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis Wednesday announced that Florida is getting ready to begin the first phase of its reopening.


After celebrating a virtual Easter because of the coronavirus, Roman Catholics are continuing to stay isolated and are using technology to practice the sacraments of their faith.

One of those sacraments – confession – is one of, if not the most personal rituals in the Church. Priests hear the penitent list his or her sins and then assign penance in private, usually in a small booth called the confessional.

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Here is information on COVID-19 in Northwest Florida. We will keep this post updated with the latest information from local, and statewide agencies. 

For information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

For updates on Florida cases of coronavirus, visit the FDOH dashboard.

A Sign Of Hope

Apr 20, 2020
Jennie McKeon/WUWF

In these socially distant times, it may be hard to find someone to confide in, especially those who live alone.

That’s why Jon Becker, senior minister at Concord Presbyterian Church in Gulf Breeze, decided he would reach out not just to his congregation, but the community.

On the church’s marquee, by the side of U.S. 98, are the words “Nervous? Afraid? Just need to talk? Call my cell,” followed by Becker’s personal number. 

“Some have just called to say thank you,” said Becker. “Some people just need someone to talk to. I’m mostly listening.”