Gov. Ron DeSantis

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Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced that all Floridians ages 40 and older will be able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday -- and that all adults 18 and over will be eligible on April 5.

The announcement came after eligibility was expanded to people ages 50 and older this week. DeSantis says he focused initially on vaccinating seniors and health-care workers but has gradually expanded eligibility.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis helped open the annual legislative session with his State of the State Address. He reflected as much on the past year as he did his priorities for 2021.

“One year ago, COVID-19 had not yet been declared a global pandemic,” the governor began his remarks. He then touted his response to the coronavirus outbreak.

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When the 2021 legislative session is gaveled in, a House committee will take up a proposal that targets large social media companies that block users from their platforms.

'Booze2Go' Bill Begins Its Legislative Journey

Feb 17, 2021
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Driving home with sealed mixed drinks or other alcoholic libations as part of “to go” meals moved closer Tuesday to becoming a permanent option in Florida.

The Senate Regulated Industries Committee became the first legislative panel to support a proposal to put into law an executive order from Governor Ron DeSantis which allows restaurants to include alcoholic drinks or bottles as part of take-home meals.

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Governor Ron DeSantis wants to set penalties and allow the state and members of the public to file lawsuits against five tech giants he says are imposing arbitrary, monopolistic rules mostly focused on the discourse of Republicans.

According to the governor, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple and Amazon control the narrative of online content. He contends those firms could disable or suspend a political candidate’s account in the run up to an election.

Ascension Sacred Heart

Coronavirus rates in Pensacola appear to be easing a bit, according to Mayor Grover Robinson, but still hovering in that ten to 18% range.

“It would be better it we could keep [the COVID rate] down, but we would seem to be daily in that occurrence,” said Robinson during his weekly virtual news conference. He added that some of the new case numbers have seen some leveling or decline – the latter in hospitalizations.

Ascension Sacred Heart

Older residents in Escambia County lined up at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola on Wednesday, to get their first COVID-19 vaccination in the two-shot Moderna protocol.

On a sunny, chilly day the line formed outside the church’s activities center. It was appointment-only, and they filled out the paperwork as they waited and inched forward towards the basketball courts that housed the check-in, the vaccinations and the check-out.

The event also played host to a number of state officials, including Gov. Ron DeSantis.

WUWF Public Media

The year 2020 is almost coming to an end. The year was packed — with a pandemic, an active hurricane season, civil unrest, Confederate monuments and beaches closing and reopening. As we look toward 2021, here's a look back at the stories that resonated in 2020. 

Linda Dunwoody/Ascension Sacred Heart

Governor Ron DeSantis stopped by Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola Wednesday morning to update the community on Florida’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines and discuss priorities for distribution to the state’s senior citizens.

DeSantis feels so strongly about putting elders at the head of the line, after frontline healthcare workers, that he decided to put it in writing.

UWF

Florida is getting 6.4 million rapid-test kits to detect COVID-19 infections at a faster rate. Schools, senior centers, and long-term care facilities are getting first dibs.

That number translates to about 400,000 kits over the next year. Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement Tuesday in Clearwater, and was among the first to take the new test, administered by a nurse in PPE, as required by federal law.

northescambia.com

After six months of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities being closed to visitors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday approved a plan to reopen them.

The governor’s decision is his acceptance of the recommendations from a nursing home task force. Some of the ground rules are that relatives can visit no more than two at a time; no minor children allowed; and the wearing of masks and other protective gear.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis is again rejecting the notion of a statewide mandatory use of face masks to protect against the coronavirus – despite a massive increase in such cases.

For the fifth time in six days, Florida has topped the 3,000 mark in new COVID-19 cases.  As of Wednesday, Escambia County recorded a massive jump overnight, increasing 88 positive cases for a total of 1,312. Santa Rosa increased 16 cases, bringing its total to 371.

Governor Ron DeSantis

  

Gov. Ron DeSantis is out with a plan to reopen Florida’s public schools at full capacity this fall, regardless of the status of the coronavirus pandemic.

Developed by the Re-Open Florida Task Force in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health and the CDC, the plan provides a "road map" to support health and safety measures -- despite the continued rise in the number of COVID-19 patients statewide. But those cases, he contends, are not indicative of any clinical consequence.

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Local governments worked overtime last weekend to submit their safety plans for short-term rentals in hopes of restarting the tourism industry in the Panhandle. And they're starting to get approvals back today. 

The scramble started Friday afternoon when Gov. Ron DeSantis laid out his “full phase one” reopening plan for the state, which includes resuming short-term rentals on a case-by-case basis. 

UWF

Work continues on both the state and local levels to reopen Florida, in a way that keeps another surge of the coronavirus from appearing.

First up Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis in Miami saying that the number of patients seriously ill with COVID-19 has dropped substantially, even in the hotbed that is South Florida.

“And there are over 6,300 ventilators throughout the state of Florida that are just not being used; and so, to be under 300 patients now with that, that’s a positive trend for us,” the governor said.

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