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St. Pete’s protests, from one reporter on the ground

Megan Holmes



 The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce presents: Coronavirus Impact Insights. Click the play arrow above to watch the full video. Video coming soon. 

On this episode, Megan Holmes, managing editor of the St. Pete Catalyst join Chris Steinocher, CEO of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, and Joe Hamilton, publisher of the St. Pete Catalyst to talk about St. Petersburg’s protests and COVID-19.

While reopening continues, Steinocher breaks down the trend of the number of new COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, as well as the percent of positive tests. June 6 brought 47 new cases, while June 7 brought 68 new cases for Pinellas County, and a percent positive of nearly 3 percent.

Steinocher is concerned that cases are starting to spike for ages 25-34, he worries that the economy may have to close once again. He wonders whether the new COVID-19 cases are attributable to increasing rates of socializing due to reopening restaurants, bars and breweries, or the protests that have spread around the world following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Steinocher asks Holmes to define the “St. Pete story” of the protests and how they are unfolding locally. Holmes says St. Petersburg’s protests are grassroots and have grown organically out of the group of young people who took to the streets beginning Saturday May 30.

St. Petersburg’s protests meet at City Hall at 2 and 7 p.m. daily, allowing community members to join in the protests at the central meeting point. From there, they span the city, from north to south, downtown to Midtown.

She recounts a specific example from Sunday night’s protests, which spanned from 18th Avenue S. to Beach Drive, when protesters took a knee outside of Beach Drive businesses and organizers asked patrons of those businesses to consider supporting the protest, to consider joining those marching.

Holmes explains the disconnect she’s seeing between community leaders, elected officials, faith leaders and protestors. She explores ways that elected officials and business leaders could join in the discussion and meet protestors where they are to have real, meaningful conversations.


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