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Phase 3 Of Reopening; Audio Postcards From Florida Voters; Justice Wells’ Election Concerns

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Anita Anderson, left, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and her niece Tawnya Heggins of Houston, chat as they dine outside a restaurant on Miami Beach, Florida's famed South Beach, Friday, June 26, 2020. Florida banned alcohol consumption at its bars Friday as its daily confirmed coronavirus cases neared 9,000, a new record that is almost double the previous mark set just two days ago. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Late last week, Governor DeSantis reopened the state for business under Phase 3. Among other things, that means that most restaurants and bars can now be open at full capacity. He also eliminated fines against anyone ticketed for breaking local mask orders.

However, Phase 3 is not rolling out in the same way across the state. Many local governments are keeping mask orders in place, and some business owners are still limiting capacity. This, as President Donald Trump and the first lady have tested positive for coronavirus.

We spoke to journalists from across the state, to see what Phase 3 looks like in their area.

Mathew Peddie of WMFE, joined us to discuss how Orlando’s tourism industry is responding to COVID-19 and how Trump’s diagnosis will affect his plans to campaign in the state.

WJCT News’ Sky LeBron spoke with us about how Phase 3 is panning out in Northeast Florida where Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry said earlier this week that a countywide mask mandate will stay in place for the next 30 days.

Ryan Vasquez of WUFT updated us on the status of the virus at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

And Danny Rivero of WLRN joined us to talk about how things are going in South Florida, which has been hit the hardest by COVID.

Associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Florida, Dr. Cindy Prins, also joined to share her thoughts on how the Phase 3 reopening could affect Florida’s infection rates.

Audio Postcards From Florida Voters

During the next few weeks, we will share the stories of voters from across the state’s crucial I-4 corridor. It runs from St. Petersburg to Daytona Beach and covers dramatic demographic shifts.

Friday, we heard from James Moore of Osceola County, who shared his story with WUSF’s Jessica Meszaros.

Meszaros produced the audio postcard as part of America Amplified, a national reporting initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Justice Wells’ Election Concerns

During the 2000 election, now-retired Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Wells voted not to manually recount votes. Now he says President Trump is a threat to democracy. Justice Wells outlined his concerns to friends in an email, which he gave the Sun-Sentinel permission to publish this week. In it, he said that President Trump’s implication that he may not accept the outcome of the election is a grave and real threat to our democracy.

Justice Wells joined us to discuss his concerns.

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