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Mask Mandate

  • State health officials reported 4,504 new COVID-19 infections and 71 deaths on Thursday. As of Thursday morning, more than 9.1 million people in Florida have been vaccinated, including more than 6.6 million who are fully vaccinated with either two-doses or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.Local Governments in Southwest Florida and beyond are allowing emergency declarations and COVID restrictions to end following Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order, Monday, lifting all coronavirus restrictions imposed by local governments.COVID restrictions are being loosened in Florida courthouse buildings. The CDC has issued guidance to cruise lines about how they can begin trial voyages and theme parks in Central Florida are planning to do away with temperature checks as the CDC’s guidance is changing.
  • State health officials reported 5,571 new COVID-19 cases and 83 deaths, Wednesday for a total of more than 2.1 million cases and more than 35,000 deaths statewide since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 8.2 million people in Florida have been vaccinated so far, including more than 2.9 million people who have received a first dose and more than 5.3 million who have completed the series.The University of South Florida is studying whether those with a history of allergies are more at risk for severe reactions from COVID-19 vaccines.The Florida Senate continues to consider a bill that would increase the cap on unemployment benefits from $275 a week to $375 a week, although Gov. Ron DeSantis has voiced opposition to the move.Sarasota Health officials are holding a pop-up vaccine clinic on Saturday for 16 and 17-year-olds.Sarasota is currently experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 infections and reduced vaccine demand.
  • State health officials reported 6,772 new COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths, Wednesday. So far more than 7.5 million people in Florida have been vaccinated including more than 2.9 million people who have received a first dose and more than 4.6 million who have completed the series.Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent a letter to school district officials, Wednesday, advising that mask wearing for students will be optional this fall.School districts in Southwest Florida are planning to scale back their virtual learning options for the 2021-2022 school year. Area school districts are also reporting a surge in new infections after students returned from spring break.Due to reports of rare blood clots, Florida has paused distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Gov. Ron DeSantis says despite the pause, Florida’s vaccine supply is still strong. The state’s effort to vaccinate people in prison is also not affected by the pause.Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is calling on Gov. DeSantis to loosen vaccine residency restrictions in an effort to get more undocumented farmworkers vaccinated.
  • State Health officials reported 3.406 new COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths Monday. Nearly 6.4 million people in Florida have been vaccinated including nearly 2.7 million who have received a first dose and nearly 3.7 million who have completed the series.As of Monday, all adults 18 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Sixteen and 17-year-olds also became eligible for the vaccine, Monday, but teenagers are restricted to the Pfizer version of the vaccine and must have parental consent.Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order, Friday, banning businesses from using vaccine passports to require people to prove they’ve been vaccinated in order to receive services.The Florida Legislature is taking up budget proposals this week and how to use Florida’s share of federal funds stemming from the American Rescue Plan remains a point of contention in budget negotiations.Lawmakers in the state House and Senate are considering several pieces of legislation to limit local-government emergency orders, create a personal-protective equipment stockpile and establish an Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund for use by the governor.Sarasota city commissioners are taking steps to reinstate a mandatory mask ordinance amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • State Health officials reported 2,826 new COVID-19 cases and 93 deaths on Monday. Meanwhile more than 4.2 million people in Florida have been vaccinated, including more than 1.88 people who have received a first dose, more than 2.2 million who have completed the series with two doses and more than 90,000 people who have received the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis expanded vaccine eligibility to adults 60 and older and he expressed confidence that Florida will open vaccine eligibility to all adults by President Joe Biden’s deadline of May 1.
  • State health officials reported 4,853 new COVID-19 cases and 59 deaths, Wednesday. So far more than 1.75 million people in Florida have received a first vaccine dose and more than two million people have completed the series with two doses. More than 25,000 people have received the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.After vaccine eligibility in Florida expands to include people 60 and older on Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he’ll open up eligibility to people 55 and older soon after before eventually doing away with age restrictions altogether.An additional 76 CVS Pharmacy locations in Florida will begin offering vaccine appointments this week including stores in Charlotte, Collier and Lee Counties here in Southwest Florida, and at locations in 21 other counties.Despite pushback from some parents, Collier County School District officials say its mask policy will likely remain in place at least through the end of the current school year.
  • A mandatory mask order in the city of Sarasota will end later this month.
  • State health officials reported 11,015 new COVID-19 cases, Monday, for a total of 1,212,581 cases.The Florida Department of Health also reported 112 new coronavirus-related deaths, Dec. 21, increasing the statewide death toll to 20,976 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
  • State health officials reported 11,541 new COVID-19 cases, Wednesday, for a total of 1,155,335 cases.The Florida Department of Health also reported 122 new coronavirus-related deaths, Dec. 16, increasing the statewide death toll to 20,490 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
  • State health officials reported 9,592 new COVID-19 cases, Wednesday, for a total of 1,083,362 cases.The Florida Department of Health also reported 84 new coronavirus-related deaths, Dec. 9, increasing the statewide death toll to 19,716 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.