Catch up on today’s latest news in Sarasota-Manatee and across the state.

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We will update this story throughout the day with the latest news from around the area, as well as updates about the coronavirus pandemic and its effects in Sarasota-Manatee and across Florida.

TODAY IS FRIDAY

As of Friday, 470,386 people in Florida have tested positive for COVID-19, and there have been 6,843 deaths of Florida residents. You can also track coronavirus cases by ZIP code in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

TOP STORIES

3:48 p.m.: Hurricane Isaias: Watches issued for Florida as track drifts west

Isaias graduated to a hurricane late Thursday, and is expected to reach a high-end Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 90 mph as it approaches Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.

2:30 p.m.:Sarasota medical experts weigh in on schools reopening

With questions pouring in about how safe it will be for children to return to school later this month, two local medical experts answered some of the most burning questions they have gotten during a virtual question and answer session hosted by Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Thursday.

2:20 p.m.: Sarasota race pits incumbent with controversial track record against newcomer

Sarasota County Republicans Mike Moran and Mike Hutchinson will square off in the Aug. 18 primary election.

11:52 a.m.: Sarasota-Manatee breweries look to reopen

Over the past few months, while restaurants have been allowed to gradually reopen and serve food and drinks, Jeremy Joerger has had to sit by and watch his business go into the tank.

11:25 a.m.: Sarasota CEO vows to bring business friendliness back to City Hall

The novel coronavirus has pummeled nearly every kind of business in America and Don Patterson believes the city of Sarasota’s recent actions to curb infections have made it difficult for them to stay afloat.

11:07 a.m.: Sarasota County voters urged to return vote-by-mail ballots promptly

The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections is urging voters who have requested vote-by-mail ballots for the Aug. 18 primary election to vote and return those ballots promptly so they are received in time to be counted.

10:50 a.m.: Fourth day of record COVID-19 deaths in Florida

On Friday 257 new deaths were reported, surpassing Thursday’s single-day record increase. It’s the third day in a row with more than 200 new deaths reported.

7:00 a.m.: Brutal July presents Florida leaders with big coronavirus questions heading into August

It was a month that transformed Florida into one of the worst virus hotspots on the globe, putting the state at the center of the debate over how to balance economic and public health.

7:00 a.m.: Sarasota School Board faces tough call on reopening

The majority of families want to return to school, but with COVID-19 deaths increasing and other counties getting permission to start in an all-remote format, pressure is mounting on the Sarasota County School Board as it considers what to do.

7:00 a.m.: DeSantis’ popularity plummets amid widely-panned coronavirus response

A pair of recent polls show Gov. Ron DeSantis’ job approval rating has taken a big hit during the coronavirus crisis. DeSantis has been reluctant to impose statewide public health mandates.

7:00 a.m.: Martin Hyde, controversial Sarasota City Commission candidate, seeks second chance

The often outspoken businessman, who is unapologetic for his tough tone as a city watchdog, hopes to convince voters that it’s his turn to sit on the other side of the City Commission dais.

7:00 a.m.: Photo Gallery: Palmetto High School Graduation

Palmetto High School graduates celebrated their commencement at LECOM Park in Bradenton on Thursday. Over 400 graduates participated in the ceremony.

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YESTERDAY’S TOP STORIES

Isaias expected to become hurricane along Florida’s east coast

Tropical Storm Isaias is forecast to gain Category 1 hurricane strength as it nears Florida, but the track has shifted farther east, taking much of the state out of the cone of uncertainty.

Another record day for Florida COVID-19 deaths

Florida on Thursday recorded its third straight day of record-breaking COVID-19 deaths. It was also the second day in a row that the daily fatality count topped 200.

Sarasota-Manatee economy takes $3.7 billion blow from COVID-19

The Sarasota-Manatee economy took a stunning $3.7 billion hit during the second quarter from the loss of economic activity caused by the coronavirus pandemic, an analytics firm said Thursday.

Tropical Storm Isaias: Sarasota County prepares for wind and rain

Emergency management officials are hoping the hurricane shredder — the craggy island of Hispaniola — ends the uncertain travels of Tropical Storm Isaias before it reaches Florida. They are prepared if it doesn’t.

Restaurant News: Amore in Sarasota closes temporarily, plans to relocate

Amore Restaurant will temporarily close as it leaves its location in downtown Sarasota’s Burns Court neighborhood and looks to downsize to a smaller space, its owner said, attributing the decision to COVID-19 and decreased business.

Second round of relief coming to Sarasota city businesses

The city of Sarasota is scheduling a second round of payments worth thousands of dollars to struggling small businesses suffering under COVID-19 pandemic.

FHP: Driver dies in fiery Palmetto crash

A driver was killed in a fiery crash in Palmetto on Wednesday evening, the Florida Highway Patrol reports.

Aldi confirms COVID-19 cases in Bradenton and Palmetto

Aldi, the German grocery store chain known for its low prices and bring-your-own bag policy, confirmed this week that employees at three Manatee County stores have tested positive for COVID-19.

Restaurant and Bar News in Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice: July 30-Aug. 5

Our weekly roundup of restaurant news for Sarasota and Manatee counties including openings, dining deals and a permanent closure due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Sarasota schools work to educate parents on remote option

With the option increasingly popular at some of the schools with the highest poverty rates, district leaders are working to make sure parents know how much will be expected of children attending classes online.

SEIDMAN: Teen recovering from lightning strike

Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from a thunderstorm, and before rain begins or after it stops. Jacob Brewer found that out the hard way.

Former county commissioner would bring experience to Sarasota, but also baggage

Joe Barbetta has more than two decades of public service and is running for the City Commission. Opponents have taken issue with his connection to developers.

Restaurant News: Longboat Key’s Euphemia Haye on responding to pandemic

Longboat Key restaurant Euphemia Haye reaches its 40th anniversary in August under its current ownership. Yet this year has been unlike any other in that decades-long history because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SARASOTA-MANATEE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION PHOTO GALLERIES

Palmetto High School

Manatee High School

Lakewood Ranch High School

Braden River High School

Booker High School

Sarasota High School

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