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Palm Beach County to reopen movie theaters, bowling alleys

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MIAMI (AP) — One of Florida’s largest counties will soon reopen movie theaters, bowling alleys and other entertainment venues after seeing a decline in confirmed coronavirus cases, the governor said Thursday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Palm Beach County will take the step on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day weekend. DeSantis also said worst-hit Miami-Dade and other counties also were seeing declines in the number of COVID-19 patients.

Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner met with DeSantis on Thursday to give him a letter requesting that businesses be allowed to reopen.

Under the new plan, movie theaters and bowling alleys will reopen allowing only 50% capacity, while gyms, retail stores and museums can return to full capacity if they comply with rules on social distancing and sanitizing. Social distancing requires 6 feet (1.8 meters) between each party. During a round table Thursday with brewery owners in St. Petersburg, DeSantis said he too wanted to see bars reopen soon.

“We understand the urgency,” he said. “We really want to get to yes on this.”

Many businesses were forced to close at the beginning of the pandemic in March, but DeSantis allowed bars to reopen in early June. Three weeks later, after seeing a surge in confirmed cases, he prohibited establishments that make more than 50% of their revenue from alcohol sales from serving on site. Restaurants that sell more food than alcohol were able to stay open and serve alcohol.

DeSantis said now the numbers were looking much better to allow for more social interaction.

“The fight is not going to be over on this,” he said. “That’s just not the way these things work. You don’t have a virus that all of a sudden disappears. It’s better to have the prevalence lower like it is today.”

Lorenzo Borghese, who had to close his South Beach brewery in March, said he’s hoping to reopen in the next three or four weeks. A new business owner, Borghese said March 2020 was supposed to be his first profitable month, just as the pandemic hit. His best customers are hotels and restaurants.

“I’m all for doing this, but if they’re going to do this … can they guarantee they aren’t going to shut things down again?” Borghese asked.

He said he wishes DeSantis would give separate consideration to reopening breweries instead of lumping them in with bars.

“Most breweries have a lot more space and many have outdoor space and can allow separation,” he said.

The governor highlighted the decline in the number of coronavirus hospitalizations. A hospital census posted online by the state said there were 3,429 COVID-19 patients on Thursday, a drop from the more than 9,500 patients who were hospitalized with the illness on July 23.

Florida’s health department announced on Thursday 149 new deaths, raising the total death toll to 11,800.

Health officials also reported 3,571 new cases of people testing positive for COVID-19. That compares to highs of between 10,000 and 15,000 new cases per day in early to mid-July.

Florida has reported more than 637,000 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

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Entertainment

ICON Park Honored with “Harris Rosen Philanthropic Award”

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – ICON Park in Orlando, Florida, has been honored with the prestigious “Harris Rosen Philanthropic Award” by the I-Drive Chamber of Commerce. This accolade recognizes ICON Park’s outstanding dedication to philanthropy, enhancing both the local community and beyond. Previous recipients of this esteemed award include the Orange County Convention Center and Universal Orlando Resort.

At the recent Chamber meeting and award ceremony, attended by numerous tourism leaders, ICON Park President and CEO Chris Jaskiewicz accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Maria Triscari, president of the I-Drive Chamber, emphasized ICON Park’s significant impact, describing it as a vital pillar within the greater Orlando community.

Five years ago, under Jaskiewicz’s leadership, ICON Park was transformed into a communal hub with free admission, fostering community spirit and celebrating Orlando’s vibrancy. Reflecting on his inspiration for ICON Park’s philanthropic initiatives, Jaskiewicz highlighted his deep-rooted ties to Orlando and his belief in tourism’s transformative power.

ICON Park’s commitment to community support is exemplified through various initiatives, including lighting The Wheel in custom colors to raise awareness for causes, hosting safety training exercises for fire rescue teams, and providing observation opportunities for conservation groups. The park also offers its venue for charity events and fundraisers at reduced or no cost, and has established the “ICON Park Hospitality Scholarship” at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality.

In the past year alone, ICON Park has donated over a quarter of a million dollars to local organizations and facilitated more than 80 on-site events. Looking ahead, the park continues to expand its presence with Merlin Entertainments acquiring the Orlando Eye and preparing for the return of Blue Man Group to Orlando in a new theater development.

ICON Park’s receipt of the “Harris Rosen Philanthropic Award” underscores its ongoing commitment to making a positive difference in the Orlando community and beyond, embodying the spirit of corporate responsibility and community engagement.

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Orlando Fringe Festival Adjusts Venue Amidst Summer Plays, Relocates Due to Flooding

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The Orlando Fringe Festival

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Attention, theater enthusiasts and festival-goers! The Orlando Fringe Festival, renowned for its vibrant showcase of independent theater and performing arts, is making headlines this summer. Despite unexpected challenges, including recent flooding in the downtown area, the festival remains committed to bringing you an unforgettable lineup of diverse and thought-provoking plays.

Organizers have swiftly adapted to the situation, relocating performances to alternative venues across Orlando to ensure that audiences can still experience the magic of Fringe. From captivating dramas to uproarious comedies and everything in between, this year’s festival promises to deliver the same innovative spirit and artistic excellence that attendees have come to expect.

Stay tuned for updates on venue adjustments and additional highlights from the Orlando Fringe Festival, running from July 19th to 29th. Don’t miss your chance to support local artists and immerse yourself in the creative energy that defines this celebrated cultural event. Grab your tickets now and join us for an extraordinary celebration of theater, resilience, and community at the Orlando Fringe Festival!

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Kareen Kennedy is the Assistant Editor for Florida National News
kareen.kennedy@floridanationalnews.com

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“Unleash the Elements with Chris Brown: The 11:11 Tour Comes to Orlando’s Kia Center!”

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Chris Brown’s 11:11 Tour brought a whirlwind of music, dance, and technological spectacle to the Kia Center on Saturday, July 13, 2024. As the headline act, Chris Brown delivered a high-energy performance that spanned hits from his extensive discography, with some intriguing twists and surprises throughout the sold-out show.

 

Opening Acts: Maeta and Muni Long

Opening the evening was Maeta, whose soulful voice set a smooth tone for the night. Her performance of tracks like “Teen Scene” showcased her vocal prowess and laid-back R&B vibes, warming up the crowd effectively. Following Maeta, Muni Long took the stage, hyping up the audience with tracks from her upcoming album “Revenge,” including crowd favorites “Made for You” and “Hours and Hours.” Her energetic presence and engaging performance style set the stage perfectly for the main event.

DJ Fresh and Nostalgic Beats

During breaks between acts, DJ Fresh kept the energy alive with a mix of 90s and 2000s hip-hop and R&B classics. Fans were treated to a nostalgic journey through Chris Brown’s music, which often samples iconic tracks from these eras. This set the mood and heightened anticipation for Chris Brown’s arrival.

Source: Visit Orlando

Chris Brown’s Spectacular Performance

Chris Brown’s set was a spectacle from start to finish, divided into thematic segments representing the elements: fire, water, air, and earth, each narrated by an AI voice resembling Michael Jackson. Each 30-minute segment featured songs from his latest album “11:11” as well as beloved hits from his career. The production quality was top-notch, with stunning visuals and choreography that underscored Brown’s status as a consummate performer.

A highlight of the show was the interactive segment where an AI on a huge screen mimicked a game show, allowing fans to select which songs Brown would perform snippets of. The chosen tracks — “Forever,” “Deuces,” and “No BS” — delighted the audience and showcased Brown’s ability to seamlessly blend his classics with innovative stagecraft. This interactive feature added an element of spontaneity and connection with the audience.

Despite controversy in his past, Chris Brown’s ability to consistently deliver sold-out shows like the 11:11 Tour speaks volumes about his enduring appeal and the loyalty of his fanbase. His vast catalog of hit songs and albums continues to attract fans old and new, showcasing his growth as an artist and performer. Chris Brown remains a force in the music industry, continually pushing boundaries and captivating audiences worldwide.

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Kareen Kennedy is the Assistant Editor for Florida National News
kareen.kennedy@floridanationalnews.com

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