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Sarasota Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018 1 year ago

Sarasota declares red tide state of emergency

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Seven-day declaration can be renewed in a week.

The city of Sarasota has declared a state of emergency connected to this summer’s outbreak of red tide and its effects on local beaches and businesses.

The declaration lasts for seven days but can be extended in seven-day increments, as was done in September 2017 after hurricane Irma.

City Manager Tom Barwin is authorized to declare a state of emergency with the approval of one City Commissioner. Liz Alpert concurred with Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering’s advice.

In a prepared statement, Barwin said: “As the home city of Mote Marine Laboratory, this experience is requiring us to be much more proactive sharing information and working to prevent a similar disaster in the future. The state of emergency reflects our need to continue to respond effectively and efficiently to this public health and economic crisis. The city continues to coordinate with our partners at the county and state levels as we combat the effects of red tide and the threats it presents to the health and safety of our residents and guests.”

Small businesses that have been affected by red tide may be eligible for short-term, interest-free loans of up to $50,000 through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Business owners with two to 100 employees can apply now through Oct. 12 at www.floridadisasterloan.org.

Gov. Rick Scott earlier this week declared a state of emergency for seven Florida counties, including Sarasota.

His order frees up state money for a variety of uses, which include $100,000 to Mote Marine Laboratory to help care for animals rescued from the red tide;  $500,000 to Visit Florida and about $900,000 to Lee County to clean up dead fish. 

Collier, Lee, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas were the other counties included in Scott’s order.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan visited Mote Marine Laboratory on Monday for an update on red tide and said more needed to be done to find solutions.

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