📊 Numbers — There are 1.977 positive cases in the state, up from 1,467 on Tuesday night. And 23 deaths, an increase from 20 on Tuesday night. More than 1,660 people are being monitored, and 20,165 people who’ve been tested don’t have COVID-19. The state updates its testing numbers twice daily, in the late morning and after 6 p.m. each night.
More testing sites are on the way as plans for a drive-thru center in Miami Beach could be finalized by the end of the week. And researchers at the University of Miami’s medical school are working on a quicker version of the coronavirus test that could provide results in about 30 minutes.
Miami Beach commissioners approved a plan that would move some city staffers from their current roles to provide support for people seeking assistance with state and local unemployment benefits. The proposal came after the commission rejected a plan to give checks to local service industry employees.
🗣️ Response — Gov. Ron DeSantis added another layer to his order that travelers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have to self isolate for two weeks, including a mandate that anyone who traveled from those areas in the past three weeks also need to self isolate, not just new arrivals.
And things are getting more forceful on the local level as Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said that repeat violations of the county’s social-distancing orders could lead to fines or jail time. Yesterday he added that more police and code enforcement officers would be looking for potential violations from residents or businesses.
Local agencies are also working to find shelters and places for people experiencing homelessness to stay and isolate themselves if they become sick or show symptoms of COVID-19.
🏨 Business impact — Stores like Publix and El Dorado are facing scrutiny as some employees are wondering why management wouldn’t allow them to wear gloves and take extra precautions when interacting with customers. And some older workers at those stores, including those who are 60 and older and vulnerable to the coronavirus, are afraid to come into work in person but also worry about repercussions or pay reductions if they try to work from home.
Publix also announced yesterday that they would put plexiglass at checkout counters and customer service desks to create an extra barrier between employees and customers.
🎒 Schools — More than 75,000 college students from schools across Florida have signed a petition asking for wider access to pass/fail grading as public universities were required to move to online-only instruction and shut down student housing.
❌ Closures and cancellations — Brightline service has been suspended in South Florida and that decision also resulted in 250 employees being laid off. Jury trials in the state have also been suspended until at least April 17.
😊 Some bright spots — O Cinema is bringing its art house cinema selections online with a new Virtual Cinema. The only film available to stream right now is “Bacurau” but they’re planning to add more selections in the coming days. And your “ticket” is good for five days of streaming.
✅ Other helpful info — The Herald put together a list of resources for folks seeking unemployment help, child care, and some useful hotlines. Here’s a look at new operating hours for grocery stores, including hours designated for senior citizens to shop. And here are some lists of local food spots offering take out and delivery from the New Times and Infatuation Miami.
In other news…
Work that you hopefully won’t see. There are a bunch of lane closures coming to the Palmetto Expressway this weekend as the state’s transportation department works to install new express lane markers, install signs and lights, and much more. You can find more info here but hopefully, unless you really have to be on the roads, you’ll avoid this work altogether. (Miami Today)
Hey, Miami. You all know that creating community and helping you live like you live here are super important to us. And even in a time where those connections are happening from a distance, we’re still committed to keeping you informed and supporting those community building efforts.
But while our newsletter is, and always has been, free to our readers — producing it isn’t. Local journalism, just like our local hospitality and tourism industries, is already dealing with layoffs and cutbacks because of COVID-19’s impact and any support would help us continue to do the work that you all have come to expect from us.
If you’re in a position to join as a supporting member, here’s where to sign up. You can join for $8 a month or a one-time annual payment of $96.
Thanks so much and stay safe, folks.
Whether it’s through an official order or just to keep our neighbors safe, most of us are staying home and will be for awhile.
So we put together this list of ways to enjoy yourself in Miami from the comfort of your own home. Check it out on our Instagram page.
And here are a few suggestions that folks added to our recs:
“Read Florida authors! Read authors who write about Florida and those who live here but write about other things.” —@ebernsteinwsj
“Read books!!!!! Start a journal.” —@thereelone
And speaking of books, a familiar name for locals chimed in:
“Buy some Miami-centric books!” —@booksandbooks
Got some recommendations to add? Head to our Instagram post and drop in a comment or just hit reply and let us know.
🏠 Find some ways to volunteer from home. The folks at HandsOn Miami have created some volunteer activities and guidelines for people looking to volunteer from a safe distance including a pen pal program, helping homebound neighbors, and DIY activities to support organizations like the Miami Rescue Mission.
🔎 Learn how states are reacting to COVID-19. Wondering how Florida and the 305 compare to other efforts around the country? This website has collected that data into a policy tracker that includes details on stay-at-home orders and state legislative responses.
We’ve compiled all of these COVID-19 bulletin board entries on our website.
We’ll continue updating this list so feel free to share any online events, volunteer opportunities or other ways for folks to get involved while staying safe. Hit reply and let us know or email us with the subject line COVID Bulletin Board.
🗣️ Learn how to scale up your small business at this workshop hosted by the Idea Center at Miami Dade College (Online)
🎤 Participate in a virtual open mic night and fundraiser (Online)
🗣️ Learn how to bring a story to life with playwright and TV writer, Aurin Squire, during this writing workshop (Online)
🎨 Make art with the kiddos with a class led by a ProjectArt resident artist (Online)
😅 Stretch with a New World School teacher leading a Gyrokinesis class (Online)
😂 Check out an online version of Villain Theater's comedy clash improv show (Online)
🎶 Dance in your living room with the DJs and party producers of Minnie's Disco, Peach Room Miami and Slap and Tickle on this live stream party (Online)
💃 Dance out your demons at this Dancorcism class (Online)
🎤 Check out an online karaoke night with Let's Sang (Online)
💃 Learn to dance salsa during this two-week course with Karibe Dance Studio (Online)
🗣️ Take an acting workshop focused on American master playwrights presented by Miami New Drama (Online)
🎶 Rock out with the live bands and DJs from the weekly Haute Happy Hour at Gramps (Online)
If the message on staying home and looking out for the most vulnerable folks hasn’t been clear enough when medical experts, media members and elected officials have shared it, then we’ll add a local pro athlete to the list.
Udonis Haslem, the Miami Heat legend and three-time champion, shared a super personal message in The Players’ Tribune about growing up poor in Liberty City and how food-insecure and underserved communities in “the real Miami” will be particularly vulnerable to the economic and health impacts of COVID-19.
In short his message to any of us in a position to have food, shelter and the ability to work from home? “Keep your ass home.”
We hear ya, champ. And we’ll see ya tomorrow, Miami.
— The New Tropic