It’s Thursday, July 23rd - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Cities across South Florida are increasing their fines for those caught not wearing masks in the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Thursday, warnings are now a thing of the past in the city of Miami and those caught without wearing a mask will be fined $100 for the first offense, up from the initial $50 fine when masks became mandatory several weeks ago. Fines will also be given out in other cities, including Miami Beach.
No. 2 - Gov. Ron DeSantis strongly emphasized the need to reopen schools in a rare address Wednesday, saying that keeping them closed will lead to depression, social isolation and a higher dropout rate, but acknowledged that parents should be able to keep children at home if they fear the coronavirus.
In an address made on a state-run television channel with no other media present, DeSantis made it clear he thinks it's best for children to return to schools, but recognized there are concerns about reopening them. It was a far different message from Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie. It’s already been decided there that the school year will start August 19 with 100% e-learning. Runcie said the infection rate is still too high for in-person school.
No. 3 - As he sat in the Oval Office next to President Trump on April 28, Gov. Ron DeSantis struck a defiant pose.
Asked by a reporter about criticism he had waited too long to close all but non-essential businesses in the state, the governor launched into a vigorous defense, as Trump nodded beside him. Well, fast forward 85 days and it is Florida that leads all other states in the number of COVID hospitalizations per 100,000, according to statistics from the COVID Tracking Project. For more on how things have changed since DeSantis made his speech, click here for a report from NBC 6 investigator Tony Pipitone.
No. 4 - Ghenete Wright Muir and her son were swimming laps Sunday morning at the pool at Joseph C. Park.
Wright Muir says she and her son, who are both former competitive swimmers, were training when another swimmer between them got angry. Wright Muir says the swimmer demanded that the police be called, and they were. Three Fort Lauderdale Police officers showed up, shutting the pool down and forcing everyone to leave. She thinks race played a big role. The woman who demanded that they leave and that police be called was white while both Wright Muir and her son are Black. To hear more on what she said, click here for a report from NBC 6’s Kim Wynne.
No. 5 - All eyes remain focused on what could be the next hurricane in the 2020 season on Thursday as Tropical Storm Gonzalo intensifies.
The 8 a.m. advisory shows Gonzalo has sustained winds of 65 mph. Gonzalo is just over 900 miles away from the Windward Islands, moving west at 12 mph. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but no landfall predictions have been established for anywhere in the United States at this time.
No. 6 - Local weatherwise, rain chances drop slightly Thursday for a little bit of relief in South Florida before they could pick up again in time for the weekend. Keep your NBC 6 app handy for push alerts on any severe weather as well as First Alert Doppler 6000.