Florida News That Impact You – February 22nd, 2021

some of the biggest news from around the state that impacts you in South Florida.

A total of 5,065 new COVID-19 reported cases on Sunday brought the weekly trend below 6,000 daily cases for the first time since November 15th. With the typical peak of flu season behind us and the continued rollout of vaccines, there’s room for increased optimism that Florida is turning the corner in the pandemic.

As Florida has struggled to obtain access to new first dose vaccinations, most recently in part due to weather delays, more Floridians have now completed the two-dose schedule than are waiting to receive a second dose of a COVID vaccine. Approximately 1.4 million Floridians have received both vaccinations compared to 1.3 million who’ve received a first dose and are waiting for a 2nd.

A legal challenge to mask mandates in Florida is now under consideration by Florida's Supreme Court. The challenge, brought last summer, contests Palm Beach County’s mask mandate and could serve as a proxy for the state. The challenge contests the County’s order requiring masks be worn at businesses and government buildings alike. While local governments can’t currently fine Floridians for violations of mask mandates, access to businesses and services may be denied for those not wearing masks.

Finally, according to the Florida Department of Education, there are 87,000 fewer fulltime grade school students than prior to the pandemic. With school budgets tied to enrollment, there likely will funding adjustments from the state to local school districts. No school district in the state has issued refunds to taxpayers despite lower enrollment and the use of remote learning which is less expensive that in-person education.

Photo by: Ricardo ARDUENGO / AF