With a look at some of the top stories making the news today, April 20 across your Caribbean-American community in South Florida.

Today’s newscast is brought to you by the Florida Department of Health;

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, The Florida Department of Health in Broward County reminds everyone to practice social distancing, wash your hands often with soap and water and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

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Coming up in the newscast, some beaches in Florida start reopening as COVID-19 cases surpass 25,000, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony faces a vote of no-confidence this week, and Jamaica’s COVID-19 cases double in just one week.

Now for the news in the detail

Florida beaches began reopening on April 17, even while the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state surpassed 25,000. Governor Ron DeSantis announced that beaches were permitted to reopen Friday afternoon if they could do so safely, and by early evening, some beaches in Jacksonville had removed police barriers, allowing residents to stroll and surf. The decision to reopen some beaches came on the same day that Florida saw 1,400 new cases of the virus, marking the biggest single-day increase in the number of new infections since the crisis began. As of April 19, Florida reported nearly 26,000 COVID-19 cases and over 750 deaths.

In the meantime, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony is now facing a vote of no-confidence following the suspension of Jeff Bell, the president of Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association. Bell was suspended with pay on April 10 after he accused the sheriff of allegedly not having enough personal protective gear for deputies, first responders and those working in the Broward County Jail system. An investigation into the suspension listed lying and conduct unbecoming as two of the five allegations against Bell. The deputies’ union announced that it would hold a no-confidence vote over Tony. Voting began on April 14 and will end on Monday (April 20), when the votes will be counted and announced.

In the meantime, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services says they have given Caribbean and other non-immigrants the opportunity to extend their stay in the US amid the COVID-19 pandemic, provided that they file their applications in a timely manner. The news comes as Jamaica’s ambassador to the U.S. Audrey Marks revealed that Jamaicans may not be able to go home this month due to the island’s spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. Marks said she is currently in talks with the department of homeland security to get a waiver of the visa renewal fee. The fee is currently US $450, which is approximately $60,000 Jamaican dollars.

In Caribbean News, Jamaica now leads the CARICOM nations in confirmed COVID-19 cases. In just one week, the number of cases doubled from 72 on April 12 to almost 200. The alarming spike in cases has many residents fearing that a total lockdown of the island will be announced soon. Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that the spike has thrown off plans to allow residents stuck overseas to return to the island. As businesses and schools have closed across the United States, many seasonal workers, tourists and international students are impatiently waiting on Jamaica to announce re-entry.

For more information on these and other stories, visit CNWNETWORK.com. Remember to pick up this week’s copy of our Caribbean National Weekly at your nearest Caribbean – American outlet.

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