Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Coronavirus unemployment crisis deepens in Florida and U.S.
The jobs picture for Florida and the nation went from historically bad to even worse Thursday with the news that 6.6 million laid-off Americans last week filed claims for unemployment assistance — more than double the 3.3 million who applied the week before. Florida reported 227,000 unemployment claims for the week ending March 28 — more than triple the previous week — but the number likely understates the size of the state’s job losses. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.
Funky Buddha announces Beers for the Biz program
Right now, we all need to raise a beer – and a hand – for those in the biz. Funky Buddha Brewery is announcing its Beers for the Biz program, an effort to bring aid and awareness to families in the food & beverage industry affected by COVID-19. Funky Buddha will donate a portion of its beer sales during the month of April to CORE™: CHILDREN OF RESTAURANT EMPLOYEES, providing support to food and beverage service employees, with children, who have been or have had someone in their immediate family medically diagnosed with COVID-19. Read more from Brewbound and see the official announcement here.
Apalachicola National Forest implements emergency fire restrictions
Fire officials at the Apalachicola National Forest are implementing a Fire Restriction Emergency Closure Order that will ban all fires or campfires on the entire forest due to high drought index and lack of rain. Officials say this order is effective starting April 2 to July 31, due to the unseasonably high drought index and lack of rain the forest will experience. More from WTXL.
Orlando’s small businesses are scrambling to get loans to stay afloat. But lenders are already overwhelmed.
Small business owners in Central Florida are desperately looking to loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network to stay afloat and continue paying staff. Without that funding, Chris Hurn, CEO and founder of Fountainhead, one of the nation’s largest non-bank SBA lenders, estimates there will be hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of businesses shut down permanently in the coming months. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Dade City’s Wild Things closes amid legal fight. Its last 6 tigers are moved.
The last six tigers remaining at Dade City’s Wild Things left their cages for good on Tuesday, marking the shuttering of a zoo with a reputation around the country for poor treatment of animals. By Wednesday afternoon, the tigers arrived at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, a 789-acre natural haven for animals rescued from roadside zoos, private basements and other hellish places. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Prominent chocolatier shifts to capture business in crisis
Norman Love Confections, like many other specialty retailers, is adapting to the coronavirus pandemic with some parts creativity and some parts community connections. One challenge: the company’s core products, handcrafted artisanal chocolates, what co-founder Norman Love calls “affordable luxury,” aren’t front-of-mind for most customers right now.
» More from the Business Observer.
Manatee Players forced to drop live streaming performance
One casualty of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stay-at-home order issued Wednesday was a planned live streaming broadcast by the Manatee Players of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Doubt.” Earlier this week, the theater announced it would broadcast its production of John Patrick Shanley’s play at 7 p.m. Saturday from the Kiwanis Studio Theatre in the Manatee Performing Arts Center. But because the gathering is not considered “essential,” it will be delayed, said Producing Artistic Director Rick Kerby.
» Read more from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
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