May 27, 2020

Thursday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 3/12/2020

Florida could be back in the running to host Space Command headquarters

Florida could be back in the running to host the headquarters of U.S. Space Command after the Air Force announced last week a decision to re-open the selection process. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett told the House Armed Services Committee last Wednesday of the decision to open applications, seeming to invalidate a shortlist released last year delineating the six locations — four in Colorado, one in California and one in Alabama — that were finalists to host the headquarters of the nation’s 11th combatant command. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida passes bill to combat blue-green algae blooms

The Florida Legislature is attempting to rein in the blue-green algae blooms that have hurt tourism and wildlife, sending Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis a bill that seeks to reduce nutrients reaching the state's waterways and groundwater. The bill is a priority for DeSantis and includes recommendations from a task force formed to address the algae problem that has plagued the state in recent years. [Source: AP]

Florida entrepreneurs share love of fair and festival circuits

The spring festival and fair season is in full swing as home-based businesses flock to the “market square.” This successful pop-up style model is attractive to business owners for a number of reasons, ranging from flexible schedules to low overhead and travel. That's why more Florida entrepreneurs have foregone the brick-and-mortar location to work the circuit. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

50,000 cruise passengers may have been in contact with coronavirus-infected workers at Port Everglades

The dock workers infected by coronavirus at Port Everglades might have come into contact with more than 50,000 Princess Cruises travelers over three weeks. Three of the first four people to test positive for the virus in Broward County work for Metro Cruise Services, which provides guest services for arriving and departing cruise passengers. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

See also:
» State halts visitors to Florida prisons, citing coronavirus
» What coronavirus crisis? Florida corporations get tax breaks in Senate plan
» Coronavirus fears move Florida voting sites from assisted-living facilities
» Florida has six new coronavirus cases with links to Tampa conference, Daytona Bike Week

That fresh tilapia you’re eating? Odds are it came from Colombia via St. Pete.

Juan Carlos Libreros, a biomedical engineer, had been working nearly two decades for major U.S. medical firms when one of his brothers back home in Colombia called him with an idea. Want to sell fish in the United States? It wasn’t as far-fetched a suggestion as it may sound. The family had been raising tilapia on farms and selling it in Colombia for 20 years. So with help from Prospera, a nonprofit that helps Hispanic entrepreneurs in the Tampa Bay area, Libreros looked into the idea of importing fish. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida Lottery unveils new player's guide

The Florida Lottery has launched the Player’s Guide, a new best-in-class website with detailed information on how to play and win the lottery responsibly. The Player’s Guide serves as a one-stop-shop for the latest tips, resources, documents and how-to information for every Florida Lottery player — from beginners to experienced players. [Sponsored report]


› Florida lawmakers approve fireworks revamp
A proposal to allow Floridians to legally buy fireworks for use on three holidays is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis. With no debate Wednesday, the House voted 82-34 in support of the bill (SB 140) that would allow people 18 and older to buy fireworks to use on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Independence Day.

› Orlando hotels saw 12% dip in occupancy last week
Orlando hotel occupancy saw a double-digit dip last week — a steeper drop than the national average — as worldwide fears of the coronavirus escalated just as Central Florida’s busy Spring Break and convention season was about to get underway, according to STR, a firm that tracks hotel business.

› $5 billion Miami International Airport upgrade ready for takeoff
Miami-Dade lawmakers are days from authorizing $5 billion in bond debt to fund a long list of overhauls aimed at the county’s greatest economic engine, Miami International Airport. The county Aviation Department’s 15-year capital improvement program, approved last year, is focused on growing airport capacity and efficiency.

› Grand Prix of St. Petersburg ‘still a go’ despite coronavirus outbreak
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is a full go for Sunday, despite two positive cases of the coronavirus being announced in Pinellas County on Tuesday evening. “At this point in time, we’re a low risk,” Mayor Rick Kriseman said at a news conference Wednesday morning. “We’re not at community spread. So we are still a go for Sunday.”

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Mega pantries already operate in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, serving an average of almost 4,000 people every week.
Mega pantries already operate in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, serving an average of almost 4,000 people every week.

Feeding Tampa Bay opened the new drive-through food bank — dubbed a mega-pantry — in Manatee County in response to an all-time high demand for meals and groceries from local food banks.

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