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Florida mayor donates salary to pay residents’ utility bills during coronavirus crisis

Andrew Cuomo

The mayor of a Florida Panhandle city says he won’t take a salary while his city is struggling with the coronavirus pandemic and will donate his paycheck to help residents pay their bills.

At a news conference on Monday, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson IV said he asked the city to donate his salary to Pensacola Energy and the city’s sanitation services to help people pay their utility bills while they’re out of work.

“Now granted, this isn’t going to make a tremendous drop in the bucket, but what I want to communicate to you is I’m not afraid. If I was afraid for myself, I would be doing something to retain that, but I’m not going to ask you to lose your salary if I’m not willing to do the same at this particular time,” Robinson said.

A real estate developer before he was elected mayor, Robinson makes $100,000 per year, according to the city documents.

The mayor issued business restrictions last week to slow the spread of coronavirus, including closing movie theaters, auditoriums, bowling alleys, concert houses and other entertainment venues.

The city told restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other alcohol and food service establishments to close their dining areas if they can seat eight or more people. They can still offer takeout and delivery services.

It also suspended social visits to nursing homes, assisted living homes and other facilities.

Robinson said there are two drive-in testing locations in Pensacola and Escambia County.

The Florida Department of Health has reported 10 cases of coronavirus in Escambia County, as of Tuesday.

He said he’s received a lot of calls, emails and texts from concerned residents.

“I fully understand that this is a challenging experience both from our health standpoint with the virus, but also, obviously, the economy,” he said.

Robinson said he understands that people are having a tough time, but he is confident that the city will get through this.

“I fully expect us to make a full recovery in what we’re doing,” he said.

He said the city would be working on a plan to address economic concerns from coronavirus over the next two to four weeks.

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