BC-VIRUS OUTBREAK-STRANDED CREW MEMBERS
Stuck on cruise ships during pandemic, crews beg to go home
MIAMI (AP) — Tens of thousands of crew members are stuck aboard dozens of cruise ships around the world, weeks after passengers were allowed to disembark amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the ships, including 20 in U.S. waters, have seen infections and deaths among the crew. But most ships have had no confirmed cases. Even so, crew members have not been allowed to disembark because of rules put in place by countries and local governments trying to prevent more virus cases in their territories.
Mar-a-Lago home Palm Beach County can reopen next week
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Palm Beach County _ the declared home of President Donald Trump _ can start reopening its businesses next week, joining other parts of Florida that began allowing restaurants and retail shops to open their doors under certain limitations this week. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that restaurants and shops in Palm Beach County can reopen provided they keep indoor capacity at 25% starting next Monday. DeSantis also gave the green light to reopen hair salons, barbershops and nail salons Monday under new safety guidelines for most of Florida. The governor says he hopes hard-hit Broward and Miami-Dade counties can start reopening businesses the following week.
Firefighters continue battling fires in Florida Panhandle
MILTON, Fla. (AP) — Florida firefighters are hoping to hold containment lines around a 2,000-acre fire in the state’s Panhandle, where winds are expected to shift Friday and push toward homes. The firebreak was about a half-mile from a neighborhood and officials urged residents to be ready to leave their homes should they be given the word to do so. The fire has been burning since Monday and had forced hundreds of residents to flee, scorched thousands of acres and razed dozens of structures. Only about a third of the fire is contained. On Friday, residents were allowed back to the most heavily devastated areas and authorities reopened a stretch of Interstate 10 that was closed because of smoke.
Deputies: Teen kills brother, stabs father in Florida Keys
ISLAMORADA, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a teenager in the Florida Keys killed his younger brother, stabbed his father and than ran in front of a truck after a daylong search for him. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that the 17-year-old boy was taken to a hospital in Miami with severe injuries Thursday evening. A neighbor called deputies Thursday morning after the teen's father approached him, saying the boy had fatally stabbed his 14-year-old brother and then stabbed him multiple times, including in the neck. Investigators say they weren’t sure what motivated the teen to attack his brother and father.
Venezuela orders arrest of 3 in US for role in failed plot
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s chief prosecutor has ordered the arrest of a former Green Beret and two opposition leaders living in the United States for their purported role in a botched operation aimed at removing Nicolás Maduro from power. Tarek William Saab said Friday Venezuela will seek the capture of Jordan Goudreau, a military veteran who has claimed responsibility for the attack, as well as Juan José Rendón and Sergio Vergara, two U.S.-based aides to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. U.S. law enforcement is investigating Goudreau, though it remains unclear if he will charged.
Ex-Florida sheriff's removal lawsuit dismissed
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the due process rights of a former Florida sheriff ousted by the governor following the Parkland high school massacre were not violated when the state Senate refused to reinstate him. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker dismissed ex-Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s lawsuit on Tuesday. Israel contends that Gov. Ron DeSantis and lawmakers deprived him of due process and failed to follow a special master’s recommendation that he shouldn’t have been suspended from office. DeSantis removed Israel, deeming him incompetent in his department’s response to the February 2018 shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-THEME PARKS
SeaWorld develops plans for reopening; no official date set
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — SeaWorld guests could be sitting in every other row of the stadium to watch orca shows when the parks eventually reopen. The Orlando Sentinel says interim CEO Marc Swanson gave an update on a coronavirus safety plan under development, but no official reopening dates have been announced. Swanson outlined safety requirements for employees, such as wearing masks and getting temperature checks. He didn’t say whether those rules would be enforced for visitors. SeaWorld has parks in Orlando, as well as San Diego, California, and San Antonio, Texas. The company also owns Busch Gardens theme parks in Tampa, Florida, and Williamsburg, Virginia. All of the parks have been closed since March.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-THEME PARKS
Disney World restaurant, entertainment complex to reopen
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Walt Disney World plans to reopen its restaurant and entertainment area later this month, though the theme parks and hotels will remain closed. Disney Springs vice president Matt Simon posted Thursday on the official Disney Parks Blog that the area will reopen May 20 with enhanced safety measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Those measures include increased cleaning procedures, the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests, limited-contact guest services and additional safety training for cast members. The post didn’t say which businesses would open first. Walt Disney World closed in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden uses virtual events to target battleground Florida
WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden is back on the campaign trail, targeting the critical battleground state of Florida — but without actually leaving his Delaware home. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee held a virtual roundtable with African American leaders in Jacksonville and a Tampa rally online Thursday. His virtual stops marked one of the first times Biden has tried to emulate a traditional campaign swing through a key state since locking up the Democratic primary nearly a month ago. In previous weeks, he used a makeshift studio in his basement to hold online fundraisers and discussions with top Democrats.
Former Bad Company singer Brian Howe dies in Florida at 66