NewsSarasota, Manatee County


College hoops icon, Tampa Bay sports fan Dick Vitale urging people to wear masks, social distance

Posted at 12:43 PM, Jun 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-28 12:45:49-04

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Longtime sports broadcaster and Tampa Bay sports fan Dick Vitale is urging the public to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously.

In a social media video, "Dickie V" was outside Flavio's Brick Oven and Bar Siesta Key explaining how folks in the beach town were not wearing masks and were not social distancing.

"I can't understand it," Vitale said in the social media video. "We gotta social distance, we gotta wear a mask and we gotta wash these hands. We gotta find a way to control this coronavirus."

At the time Vitale posted the video on social media, Florida set the state's single-day record of new coronavirus cases with 9,585 on Saturday. The 81-year-old broadcaster, known for his joyful personality, was serious in his plea to get people to take the virus seriously.

"It's scary," Vitale said in the social media video. There's a lot of people suffering because people won't follow the [CDC] guidelines."

According to CDC guidelines, the public is encouraged to wash their hands often, avoid close contact, cover mouths and nose with a cloth face covering when around others, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect frequently touched areas.

The following day, Vitale posted another video on social media saying he didn't cover his nose with his mask on Saturday's video because it was harder for him to speak.

As of Sunday morning, Florida's total number of positive cases is 141,075, according to the state's Department of Health.