ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – The mayor of St Petersburg announced Monday his new campaign challenging the city and the rest of the county to become the safest community in the state when it comes to COVID-19.

“Today we launch St. Pete’s Race to Safe – our community-wide effort to become and remain Florida’s most COVID-safe community,” said a spokesperson for the City of St. Petersburg.

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With coronavirus cases on the rise across the Sunshine State and a vaccine still months away, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman announced the city’s new initiative challenging the current state of safety. “I am proud of where we are in comparison to others, but quite frankly, it’s not good enough,” said Mayor Kriseman.

Despite being the most densely populated, St. Petersburg has the lowest rate of positivity cases among the state’s ten most populated counties. “6.1% tested positive in yesterday’s overnight county data. Nearly 5,000 tests were included in that batch,” said Mayor Kriseman.

Mayor Kriseman tells CW44 News At 10, he and Pinellas County officials will continue with current safety regulations and citations in St. Petersburg. “Too many business owners and patrons continue to let their guard down and so we will continue to enforce existing orders,” said Mayor Kriseman.

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“I’ve been in the kitchen since I was seventeen. I’m a professional chef. I love what I do. I have a passion,” said Felicia Lacalle, a local business owner of Kuba Cocina in Tampa. She plans to open her new spot in St. Pete come January. “We have a beautiful, beautiful spot about ten blocks away from the beach and.. we’re just waiting to open,” said Lacalle.

After being in business for three years in Tampa, she too believes St. Pete is well positioned to become Florida’s most covid-safe community. “I applaud him, actually,” said Lacalle. “It’s something that’s just… it’s become a natural routine right now.”

And while she continues cooking up modern cuban cuisine, she’s asking the locals to support their own in the fight to name Pinellas County one of Florida’s safest COVID communities. “I would not support the big corporations right now because they’re making a ton of money and here we are having a really, really hard time. Tampa Bay is such a huge community of local businesses, that, right now, this is something that is extremely important for us to stay operating. This is our dreams,” said Lacalle.

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You can learn more about the city’s Race to Safe dashboard here and check back with CW44 News At 10 for this developing story.