Monday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida coronavirus cases are growing fast. Here’s what that means.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida is doubling every three days, putting the state on a trajectory to see tens of thousands of infections in the coming weeks, a Tampa Bay Times analysis shows. No rigorous model has been calculated for Florida to predict the disease’s spread in detail. Those usually take months to create. But at this point, experts say the math is simple. The number of cases is already past the point of easy containment and infections are growing faster and faster, at what statisticians call an exponential rate. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida’s 2.8% jobless rate for February doesn’t include coronavirus crisis
The Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday posted the February unemployment rate, which was unchanged from January. But that was based on information from a time before large and small businesses across the state started cutting back or going dark because of the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. Department Executive Director Ken Lawson said bluntly on Friday the unemployment numbers are going up. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
After years of focus on profits, South Florida hospitals face biggest challenge in a generation
The battle with coronavirus comes as a reckoning for South Florida’s hospitals after years of cost cutting, under staffing and an emphasis on high-profit procedures. On the heels of a decade of competition and cutbacks, South Florida hospitals now face the greatest health threat in a generation -- and many on their front lines say they are far from ready. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Dozens of Florida small businesses granted emergency bridge loans
More than 100 small businesses have taken advantage of Florida’s emergency bridge loans, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity. The governor announced the $50 million aid program last week as a way to quickly hand over funds and keep small companies operating as COVID-19 prevention wreaks havoc on the economy. [Source: WTXL]
Steakhouse to butcher shop? Florida restaurants get creative to survive coronavirus shutdown
As the government-ordered shutdown of Florida bars and restaurants enters its third week, places like Tropical Acres are adapting to a grim new reality: takeout and delivery are unlikely to keep businesses afloat. To stem the flood of layoffs, restaurant workers have gotten creative, crafting side hustles to keep their businesses alive long enough to survive a crisis with no end in sight. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Publix offers rent relief in Publix-owned shopping centers
Publix is offering rent relief to businesses operating in Publix-owned shopping centers that have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to a press release, the relief package includes waiving rent for two months as well as waiving payments for common area maintenance fees and taxes, regardless of the tenant’s access to other relief or assistance.
› Losing big sports events cost Tampa Bay some $360 million in economic impact
In successive announcements earlier this month, the coronavirus pandemic wiped out five major sporting events in the Tampa Bay area — March Madness, WrestleMania, the Valspar Championship golf tournament, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the final days of spring training.
› Miami-Dade wants businesses to mark off six-foot coronavirus gaps for customers
Miami-Dade businesses allowed to remain open during the coronavirus emergency must make “reasonable efforts” to make sure customers and workers maintain social distance as recommended by the CDC. The order does not include mandates beyond requiring essential businesses to take “reasonable efforts to ensure that customers & employees ... maintain appropriate social distancing.” The order said those efforts may include marking separation spaces for customers and employees.
› SeaWorld furloughs more than 90% of its employees over coronavirus pandemic
SeaWorld Entertainment is indefinitely furloughing more than 90% of its employees on April 1, the latest economic hit to Central Florida and around the country from the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of employees won’t get paid after March 31, the company reported in an SEC filing Friday.
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