Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
First launch for Space Force planned in Florida on Thursday
The first official launch for the new U.S. Space Force is scheduled to lift off from Florida on Thursday afternoon with a military communications satellite aboard. The launch is planned at 2:57 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Complex 41 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with boosters attached. A two-hour launch window is in place in case of delays. More from UPI, Florida Today, and the Orlando Sentinel.
Standard insurance for Florida businesses likely won’t cover COVID-19 losses
Since the coronavirus outbreak, Darren Vermost has been fielding one question over and over — “Am I covered?” Vermost is president of Largo-based brokerage the Vermost Insurance Agency. Business owners want to know if they can put in claims from losses due to ever-diminishing crowds since government began telling people to stay home. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
As Brightline suspends service, 250 employees lose their jobs
Virgin Trains USA, the parent company of the Brightline express train, confirmed it laid off 250 out of more than 300 South Florida workers this week after announcing Wednesday it was suspending its South Florida service amid coronavirus concerns. The company said it hopes to rehire most of the workers once service resumes, but said it was too soon to say when that would be. More from the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Publix’s senior shopping hour has mixed results
All Publix stores are dedicating their opening hour, starting at 7 a.m., for seniors on Tuesday and Wednesday. Winn-Dixie stores have designated the 8 a.m. hour for seniors and other customers vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus; however, at 8:45 a.m., the South Tampa store was allowing anyone in. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida horticulturists have plants robust and ready. The market is wilting
The unfolding national coronavirus saga has South Florida’s horticulture industry scrambling to ship tropical plants ahead of cascading statewide closures of businesses nationwide, threatening to leave them stuck with product they can’t sell. Under normal circumstances, this is a bustling time of year for South Florida growers. The hibiscus, ferns, bromeliads and other tropical plants would begin shipping out in coming weeks for Americans to snap up at their local nurseries or at their local big-box retailers such as Home Deport or Lowe’s. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Orlando airport, I-4, Virgin Trains construction progresses
With the coronavirus outbreak stalling Central Florida’s economy and employment, three mega-construction jobs worth many billions of dollars are pausing only for safety briefings on how to avoid catching COVID-19. Work continues at Orlando International Airport’s expansion with a new terminal, the remake of Interstate 4 through Orlando and the Virgin Trains extension from South Florida to the airport.
› Jaguars owner Shad Khan donates $1 million to Northeast Florida’s response to crisis
Jaguars owner Shad Khan has committed $1 million in support of Northeast Florida’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, the franchise announced Tuesday. The donation is designed to provide essential support to local organizations focused on the immediate health and well-being of First Coast residents.
› Virtual job fair for veterans on Thursday
A virtual job fair event for veterans is scheduled for Thursday, March 26. DAV & RecruitMilitary is hosting the Greater Miami Veterans Career Fair from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. as an online event, open to all members of the military community, past and present, as well as military spouses. About 20 employers will be participating.
› PR firm creates #SWFLStrong campaign
An area public relations and marketing firm has created an online campaign to keep the community connected through the coronavirus crisis, dubbed #SWFLStrong. The campaign, from Fort Myers-based Conric PR & Marketing, includes a SWFL Strong Facebook group, where, according to a statement, “members of the Southwest Florida community can unite and connect to share good thoughts, community information, business developments and stories of goodwill.”
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