Waiver extended by state officials


Unemployed Floridians will continue receiving benefits even if they are not able to search for work as state officials are extending the waiver.

On Tuesday, The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced the move. Moreover, the waiver effect may remain until May 29th. It applies to all work search and works registration requirements.

The DEO and Governor Ron DeSantis will also keep in effect a separate waiver; removing the 1-week waiting requirement to apply for unemployment after losing a job. Furthermore, the waiting week waiver is extended until the 26th of June.

Several of the state’s unemployment mandates were put on hold last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With so many Florida workers impacted, state officials attempted to remove some of those barriers to receiving state support, even as Florida’s unemployment application system collapsed under pressure due to a surge in jobless Floridians.

Governor Ron DeSantis agreed to continue extending those waivers. Even though the CONNECT system Florida’s unemployment apparatus has since improved, it’s still hit multiple bumps along the road, shutting down again as recently as mid-April.

In addition to that, Governor Ron DeSantis has highlighted Florida’s fairly strong economic performance through the recent stage of the pandemic. However, the Governor has considered that parts of the state are still suffering, as indicated by the waiver renewal.

The unemployment news comes as DeSantis extended Florida’s overall state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That order was issued in March 2020; despite Governor DeSantis’s push in recent months to reopen the state, he’s kept the state of emergency in effect.

That emergency order will remain in effect another 60 days.

In order to claim unemployment benefits, individuals must still use the CONNECT system every two weeks to request that assistance. “In so doing, claimants will confirm that they are still unemployed and acknowledge that you are able and available for work,” the DEO explains.

Military members to be focused on for COVID 19 vaccine if Biden gives waiver


Military members need to be prioritized for vaccinations – the democratic legislators feel.

Democratic lawmakers have sent a letter to President Biden asking for a “waiver of informed consent” for all United States military service members to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

On Wednesday, CNN obtained a copy of the letter that was sent from a congressional aide.

At the moment the Department of Defense cannot make vaccinations mandatory because they have only been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. A waiver from the President could bypass that rule.

Seven Democratic members of Congress signed the letter, including House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. James McGovern and House Armed Services Committee members Rep. Jimmy Panetta, Rep. Marilyn Strickland, Rep. Sara Jacobs and Rep. Marc Veasey. Rep. Panetta is the son of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Rep. Cindy Axne and Rep. Jahana Hayes, who do not serve on the House Armed Services Committee, also signed the letter.

According to the Department of Defense, the opt-out rate among service members eligible to be vaccinated is about 33%, but last week military officials and service members CNN spoke with from several bases and units across the country suggest the current rejection rate may be closer to 50%.

“I think the true opt-in rate right now would probably be around 50-ish percent,” said a military health care source about numbers on a military base of some 40,000 active-duty troops. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss vaccinations.

The letter says “disinformation and vaccine skepticism” are influencing service members to opt-out of being vaccinated. It acknowledges that the Pentagon has “made admirable efforts to educate service members on the safety and efficacy” of the vaccines, but says that those measures have been “outpaced by disinformation dominating social media.”

The Defense Department has approximately 2.2 million service members operating around the globe. Last year, the military experienced a handful of high-profile outbreaks, including one aboard an aircraft carrier deployed in the Pacific.

In April 2020, a COVID-19 outbreak onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt spread to more than 20% of the crew onboard the aircraft carrier and led to the eventual dismissal of the ship’s captain. In November, more than 100 US military installations around the world put in place some form of tightened health measures to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

“We request you rapidly issue this waiver to give DOD the authority it requires to ensure readiness in the face of current and future threats,” the letter states.