Tampa Bay residents rally to reopen Florida

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) — On Sunday, Fiona O’Rourke told 8 On Your Side she has been out of work since the middle of March.

“I’m in the hospitality field and I do banquets,” she said. “I don’t see that coming back anytime soon, so it does hurt.”

Like many viewers who have contacted News Channel 8 during the coronavirus pandemic, O’Rourke said she’s had no luck applying for unemployment benefits from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“I’ve tried several times,” she said. “But it doesn’t go through, gets rejected.”

O’Rourke said she helped spread the word about Sunday afternoon’s rally to re-open Florida in Tampa.

O’Rourke and other demonstrators told 8 On Your Side sectors of the state’s economy like the service industry, hospitality and tourism have been hit hard enough and now is the time to get back to work.

The rally started in the Westshore Mall parking lot, continued with a caravan of cars and motorcycles and ended with dozens of demonstrators holding signs and waving American flags on Kennedy Boulevard.

Governor Ron DeSantis has not officially said yet what his plans are for reopening the state of Florida, which has been under a safer-at-home order since April 3. The executive order is set to expire on April 30 unless DeSantis chooses to extend it.

“You look at the guidelines the White House has put out, I think that that’s a pretty good roadmap and I think we’re just wanting to do it in a way that’s smart,” Governor DeSantis said Sunday in Orlando.

On April 15, Governor DeSantis announced he was putting together a task force to help reopen the state.

DeSantis said this group would look at how to support different sectors of Florida’s economy as they begin to reopen and figure out how to function “in the era going forward.” A week later the group was formed. For a full list of those on his task force, click here.

On April 24, he announced the group is having thorough and methodical talks when it comes to planning on reopening the state’s economy.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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