Catch up on today’s latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic.

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We will update this story throughout the day with the latest news about coronavirus and its effects in Sarasota-Manatee and across Florida.

TODAY IS MONDAY

As of Monday morning, 36,897 people in Florida had tested positive for COVID-19, and there had been 1,399 deaths. You can also track coronavirus cases by ZIP code in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

3:32 p.m.: Sarasota diners cautiously return

Monday was the first day restaurants were allowed to open at a limited capacity following the COVID-19 outbreak.

People ate lunch outside at Avli Mess Hall, Yume Sushi and Duval’s Fresh Local Seafood. Poppo’s Taqueria had roughly 50% of its chairs up so people wouldn’t sit down.

Downtown Sarasota restaurant owners had mixed expectations for how the day would go.

3:15 p.m.: Mayor, city manager to discuss COVID-19 impact on North Port

North Port Mayor Debbie McDowell and City Manager Peter Lear will appear on the latest in a series of Town Hall meetings, hosted by the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, on the Chamber’s Facebook page.

In addition to the Facebook Live stream, the town hall will also be broadcast on WKDW 97.5 FM Real Community Radio, in conjunction with the worldwide “Giving Tuesday Now” promotion.

McDowell and Lear will discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the city of North Port, as well as any assistance that is available through the City for businesses and individuals.

2:29 p.m.: Chalk Festival museum reopening for May

The colorful Chalk Festival that has left fanciful images pavement in Sarasota and Venice, moved indoors in March for a temporary exhibition called the Chalk Festival 3D Illusion Museum.

The coronavirus forced the exhibit at the Ice House to shut down shortly after the opening. With some revisions for enhanced safety, Chalk Festival Founder Denise Kowal said it is reopening this week for the final month of its planned schedule.

2:26 p.m.: Republican newcomer, vexed by disappearing country, running for Sarasota County Commission

Rural life is disappearing from east Sarasota County to make room for new developments.

Republican Mike Hutchinson, a retired software engineer who recently filed for the northern Sarasota District 1 County Commission seat, hopes to be a voice on the board that will keep the country, well ... country.

“Somebody needs to step up and start addressing some of these issues,” Hutchinson said.

2:11 p.m.: Ritz-Carlton Sarasota owner to return federal rescue loan

Bowing to mounting pressure, the owner of the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota said it will return the $5.1 million received in a hardship loan from the federal government.

The Ashford Group of Companies reversed its earlier stance, and over the weekend said it would give back the entire $68 million it borrowed so far through the U.S. government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

1:33 p.m.: Federal judge rejects lawsuit over Sarasota County Commission redistricting

Hardball politics, not race, was the primary motivator when Sarasota County commissioners adopted new district boundaries after voters mandated that board members represent specific areas, rather than residents countywide, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

The lawsuit, which alleged that the county discriminated against black voters when it redrew district maps in November, removed a significant number of black voters and a black candidate, former Sarasota Mayor Fredd Atkins, from a district where the seat was up for election this year.

12:51 p.m.: List of dine-in openings plus takeout, delivery options in Sarasota-Bradenton

Many restaurants are reopening this week with limited indoor and outdoor seating while others will continue to only fill to-go orders, and others remain temporarily closed.

To help make folks aware of these myriad options, we’ve compiled a guide for Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. Restaurants are presented in alphabetical order along with bars, breweries and coffee shops that are filling to-go orders for customers.

12:51 p.m.: Sarasota cutting $2.9 million in city spending

The economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak is immense, and the city of Sarasota has not escaped the financial ramifications.

Sarasota is facing over an estimated $1.8 million hit to various revenue sources and $770,000 to its parking funds, city documents show.

As a result, the city has eliminated part-time employee hours for its parks department and parking enforcement. It has also implemented a hiring freeze of all vacant positions, a 10% reduction in operating expenses and delayed capital purchase until September.

In all, Sarasota undertook $2.9 million in cost reductions, a likely preview for other governments battling COVID-19 and the related closures.

7:01 a.m.: Venice mayor favors expanding dining to roadside

With area shops and restaurants opening at a limited capacity Monday and beaches and parking lots open without restriction, Venice Mayor Ron Feinsod hopes area residents practice social distancing.

So it’s not surprising that Feinsod said he was receptive to a proposal local businessman Ed Taylor made that calls for the city to close the right lane of Eastbound Venice Avenue along the 200 and 300 block, to allow for restaurants to use the area for outdoor dining — something that would help make up for the loss of outdoor tables by requirements that those on the sidewalk be six feet apart.

6:31 a.m.: Arts groups get federal jobs help

Theaters still may be closed, but thanks to federal Payroll Protection Program money from the Small Business Administration, both Asolo Repertory Theatre and Florida Studio Theatre have been able to bring some of their employees back to work, while others now have help to cover staff who never stopped working.

Both FST and Asolo Rep said they received around $1 million, while Venice Theatre received $340,000 and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe received about $153,000. Sarasota Orchestra received about $1.2 million. Sarasota Opera and Urbanite Theatre have been told that their applications were approved, but they do not yet know how much they will receive, while other arts organizations are still waiting for word or resubmitting claims in the second round of applications.

6:01 a.m.: College seniors cope with lost traditions

Sarasota and Manatee’s institutions of higher learning have scrambled to replicate the rites of senior year, with campuses closed since mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Colleges are mailing students their caps and gowns and encouraging students to gather on Zoom to “socialize.”

But it’s the countless unofficial traditions — the theme parties, post-graduation dinners at restaurants with parents, final flings and the late-night study-session gossip — those are the memories that administrators cannot recreate and that the Class of 2020 is missing most acutely.

12:01 a.m.: Sarasota’s Gorilla Kleen aims to test the post-coronavirus market

Just how vigilant or paranoid post-coronavirus America will be as it renews its bonds with public places remains to be seen. But at least one Sarasota entrepreneur is thinking some people won’t unclench until they’re convinced it’s been rinsed. So John Cloud has a plan.

Truth be told, it wouldn’t be a huge moneymaker, not in the grand scheme of his nine-year-old Gorilla Kleen pressure cleaning operation. After all, once production catches up with demand, you can pick up a decent portable fogger — which can spritz chemical mists capable of vanquishing COVID-19 and any other aerosol viruses and bacteria — for about $125. And they require no special training or know-how to operate.

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YESTERDAY AND OVERNIGHT

Going to the beach in Manatee or Sarasota? Here’s what you need to know

Manatee County will open its beaches on Monday while Sarasota County will lift its restrictions to beach access. About half of Florida’s 175 state parks are also opening, but Terra Ceia Preserve is the only area park available. If you’re planning to brave shorelines or the trails, here is what you need to know.

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After lockdown, beach beckons

Even a closed parking lot wasn’t enough to keep visitors away from the No. 1 beach in America on Sunday.

One day before Sarasota County will reopen its beaches — and its public parking lots — cars lined the curb of Beach Road near Siesta Key, with the nearest municipal parking lot $20 and a 30-minute walk away.

Raises for officials could put bite into sports budgets

Less than a year ago, there were rumblings of high school sports officials being underpaid.

Three football officials associations and at least one volleyball officials association took it a step further and said they would not work games until their pay was increased.

Not long after, all was settled and most of the games went on without a hitch.

The officials associations agreed to work under the current pay scale while the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) formed a committee to study the officials’ pay rate in all sports, not just football or volleyball.

The committee of five sports officials, five athletics directors and a number of FHSAA employees hammered out a new agreement that would give the officials in all sports their first raise in six years.

The resolution goes into effect this sports season beginning in the fall.

However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, county athletics directors are seeing their budgets cut and are scrambling to make ends meet planning for the upcoming school year athletic budget.

Glossie Atkins, mother of Sarasota’s first African American mayor, has died

Glossie Atkins, the mother of Sarasota’s first African American mayor, died Sunday from longtime complications with her kidneys, her family said. She was 102.

“She really was an amazing, simple woman that worked hard at loving everybody,” said Fredd Atkins, her middle child and former mayor of Sarasota. “She had this way about her that could get up next to everybody and have sincere love for everybody.”

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Ways you can help

If your finances are stable and you want to help others in the area who are not as fortunate, here are just three of the many ways you can give back:

~ Season of Sharing has been reactivated to help people in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties who have been impacted by the pandemic. Plus, there's matching grants, so any donation you make is likely to be doubled.

~ The Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation have created an initiative to target hunger relief, homeless services and mental health care.

~ With an initial gift of $500,000 from an anonymous donor, the Manatee Community Foundation has established the Manatee County COVID-19 Community Response Fund to support the evolving needs of health and human service organizations.