May 25, 2020

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 5/19/2020

Unemployed Floridians have received $2B. Some states have done far more.

Amid questioning about Florida’s broken unemployment system, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday touted a big figure for the amount in state and federal benefits that have gone out. “We have $2 billion in claims that have been paid,” he said. Taken alone, that’s a lot of dough. But many states, which are also grappling with historic numbers of unemployed, have paid out a lot more. More from the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida Trend Exclusive
Take-out food during the coronavirus crisis

Only one thing is certain about the future of restaurants amid the coronavirus crisis: Takeout, delivery and curb service will get better. It has to. When Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered restaurants to close their dining rooms in mid-March, the industry went on hold, with a million workers at risk. The only food that restaurants could sell would have to be taken home. No waitstaff, whether polished or annoying. No grand decor or ear-breaking noise levels. No brilliantly plated entrees or squiggles on small plates. Nothing but the food. “It’s culinary Darwinism,” one restaurateur told me: Evolve or die. [Source: Florida Trend]

DeSantis again blames applicant errors for unresolved unemployment claims

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that most remaining unsettled claims in the state’s heavily criticized unemployment system are due to incomplete applications. DeSantis said forms often lack Social Security numbers or information about wages earned when the applicants were employed or they improperly list reasons for people being out of work. DeSantis, who intends to provide more information Tuesday on the state’s much-derided handling of jobless claims and the “common pitfalls” by applicants, made similar comments Friday while in Jacksonville, where he said, “nine times out of 10 the application’s incomplete.” More from the Orlando Sentinel and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

When cruises from Florida reopen, many popular destination ports wonder when and whether to welcome back tourists

Cruise lines have been hit especially hard during this pandemic. Now, as cruise companies look to regain some semblance of normalcy, they're facing a new struggle. Many ports seem disinterested in welcoming them back any time soon. Nearly all – 96 percent – of travel destinations around the world have imposed some form of restrictions, with some of the most extreme being directed at the cruise industry. While many cities and countries have yet to commit to a reopening date, some of those which have are presenting a major hurdle ahead. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida parents left scrambling for summer alternatives with many camps closed

For so many parents, summer camp is a source of childcare, but families are now looking for other options because of the coronavirus pandemic. "I miss it. They miss it, too," said Ruthie Smith, who looks after her three grandchildren and two stepchildren. Smith has been in charge of the virtual learning, the laundry and all the meals for all five children while in self-quarantine. She, like many, are hoping summer camps can open safely. [Source: WFLX]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Jacksonville caterer turns shuttered business into a cooking school
When the coronavirus lockdown hit Northeast Florida, it hit Jennifer Earnest hard. Earnest pivoted quickly to keep her catering business afloat and she now has a new revenue stream. Earnest and her husband Jamey Evoniuk own Chef’s Garden Catering & Events based in Jacksonville and they are contracted to manage the café’ at the Cummer Museum arts and cultural center. The couple have a reputation for providing high-end service for prestigious events.

› Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa to reopen Thursday
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa announced Monday that it will reopen 7 p.m. Thursday with a “safety-first mentality.” The casino’s capacity will be reduced by 50 percent. Patrons running a fever will be turned away. All customers will have to wear masks, with no exceptions.

› Miami recycling business leverages partnerships, pragmatics and philanthropy
Cycle works like this: Students can recycle both plastic bottles and aluminum cans through reverse vending machines on campuses. Cycle, which is contracted by universities, takes care of the recycling; the money it makes from the recyclables will be split with the university — a win-win.

› Higher grounds: Coffee company hits its stride as it aims for the top
Raphael Perrier won’t refer to Starbucks by name. Instead, the Kahwa Coffee Roasters co-founder uses phrases like “big green” to describe the Seattle-based java giant (more on that later). Kahwa, headquartered in St. Petersburg, is becoming the Starbucks of Florida — a ubiquitous brand that combines a high-quality product with appealing cafes and lucrative partnerships with the likes of HSN, the Tampa Bay Rays, Disney World, Publix and Kathy Ireland, the former supermodel-turned-global-entrepreneur.

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