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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Rick Kriseman and Francis Suarez. Photos: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images; Taylor Hill/FilmMagic via Getty Images

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez don't agree on everything. But the mayors both know Florida needs help addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

What's happening: Kriseman, a Democrat, and Suarez, a Republican, co-wrote a guest column in the Tampa Bay Times in support of the Biden administration's COVID relief package.

Why it matters: The mayors are coming together to ask Florida Republicans to pass the bill. They write:

"To Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and all of Congress: Florida’s — and America’s — mayors are begging you to pass the president’s bill and get your people the help they need."

Biden's American Rescue Plan includes:

  • $1,400 stimulus checks.
  • More funding for vaccine distribution.
  • Extended unemployment benefits.
  • Funding to help state and local governments keep frontline workers employed.
"We cannot afford to wait. Florida’s cities are in agony and are crying out for help. This is not sustainable."
— Mayors Kriseman and Suarez

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Go deeper

The Super Bowl highlights the dark side of Tampa Bay's sex trade

An anti-trafficking poster in Miami ahead of its Super Bowl last year. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

The Super Bowl has become, well, the Super Bowl of anti-human-trafficking campaigns.

What's happening: Tampa saw 71 arrests last month in a trafficking sting, mirroring similar mass arrests in Miami and Atlanta ahead of their Super Bowls.

Updated Feb 4, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: Hospitality and the return to work in Tampa

On Thursday, February 4, Axios Tampa Bay reporters Selene San Felice and Ben Montgomery hosted a Smart Take conversation on the hospitality industry, economic recovery and the return to work in Tampa, featuring Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Tampa Bay Economic Development Council CEO Craig Richard.

Mayor Jane Castor discussed how Tampa has approached public health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • On how the city is supporting its residents during the pandemic. "There's a moratorium on any evictions...In addition, we are working in collaboration with career sources on workforce development. That is one of the larger elements of my administration's platform."
  • On how existing development projects were able to safely progress during the pandemic: "We hired a medical director at the city and individuals had to be screened before they could come on the job site. They had to wear masks, they had to socially distance and there had to be hand washing stations throughout those locations. ..I'm very proud to say, out of the thousands of workers that we were able to keep employed, we had very few COVID-19 cases at those locations."

Craig Richard unpacked economic development in Tampa and the impact it has on the 2021 Super Bowl.

  • On the challenges of economic development during the pandemic: "Tampa Bay's challenges aren't unlike any other big cities challenges right now: the challenges that we're facing are primarily pandemic related. All the obstacles and barriers that are associated with that it difficult to bring in clients and prospects and actually show them the fine city that we have."

Axios Senior Vice President of Client Partnerships Jon Otto hosted a View from the Top segment with 'Dinner Done!' co-founder and CEO Audra Nasser, who discussed the food industry in Tampa.

  • How having a digital presence impacted their ability to operate during the pandemic: "It also gave us inventory controls and that turned out to be very critical in our ability to immediately begin offering curbside pickup to our customers. Additionally, we used a lot of social media like Facebook and Instagram to continuously communicate with our customers."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.