It’s Monday, March 15th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that after the state makes people 60 and older eligible for the COVID vaccine on Monday, it will soon lower the age to 55 and then probably open it up to the rest of the population.
The governor said at a news conference last week in Sumterville that the process of vaccinating those between 60 and 64 may go quicker than expected because of the increase in the weekly supply the state is receiving. Also Monday, the City of Hialeah is opening a new COVID-19 vaccination center Monday. Mayor Carlos Hernandez said the site, which is located at Bucky Dent Park on 2250 W. 60th Street, will inoculate 200 people daily for 60 days.
No. 2 - The city of Miami is scheduled to name its newest Police Chief on Monday and reportedly will hire someone who already has that title in another major city.
The Miami Herald reported Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo will be named to Miami’s top position during a news conference attended by Mayor Francis Suarez and others. Acevedo would be leaving the department in Houston to run the 1,400 department in Miami and would be the fifth police chief in the last decade. Over the past year, Acevedo - who is a registered Republican - has drawn national spotlight for marching with protestors after the death of George Floyd and spoke out against former President Donald Trump while speaking at the Democratic National Convention.
No. 3 - There was little sign of a pandemic on South Beach on Sunday, with streets packed and businesses booming.
Police are also trying to crack down on crime. The department doubled down its efforts, and in many areas, there was a heavy law enforcement presence. On Saturday, officers made about 30 arrests on Miami Beach. One of the cases was a narcotics arrest, allegedly involving 25-year-old Ernesto Martinez. Police say they confiscated crack cocaine, crystal meth and marijuana. To hear why some businesses decided to close their doors early, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Laura Rodriguez.
No. 4 - President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses are opening an ambitious, cross-country tour this week to highlight the benefits of his $1.9 trillion plan to defeat the coronavirus and boost the economy.
The road show — dubbed the “Help is Here” tour by the White House — begins Monday with Harris heading to a COVID-19 vaccination site and a culinary academy in Las Vegas and first lady Jill Biden touring a New Jersey elementary school. The stops at vaccination sites, businesses, schools and more are meant to educate the public about different aspects of the giant American Rescue Plan and how it will help people get to the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the plan's key features is direct payments of $1,400 for a single taxpayer, or $2,800 for a married couple filing their taxes jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent — for a total of $5,600 for a married couple with two children.
No. 5 - A measure that would shield businesses from COVID-related lawsuits could make it before the Florida Senate later this week, providing another key test for a measure that supporters assert will protect against frivolous lawsuits but that critics worry could give blanket immunity to most business owners, including long-term care facilities, who negligently put the public and their workers in danger during the pandemic.
Earlier this month, the House approved liability protections for most businesses and was to later take up another bill specific to health care providers. The version coming before the Senate combines both into a single bill, and would put pressure on the House to follow suit. And it could provide Democrats, who are generally opposed to the bills, with more opportunities to advocate for changes they hope will favor workers and consumers.
No. 6 - Weatherwise, South Florida will start the work week off with plenty of sunshine and above average temperatures before the next front rolls in. Keep your NBC 6 app handy for push alerts on any severe weather as well as First Alert Doppler 6000.