Wednesday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
As Florida reopens, some business owners are taking it slow
As the state of Florida surpassed 2,000 coronavirus deaths Tuesday, some cities and businesses were hesitant about reopening to the public, saying they want to take things slow and safe. It's a delicate balance, especially for small business owners who have been closed since mid-March. Some say too many unknowns still exist. Miami Beach and the city of Miami are delaying opening retail, hair salons and barbershops until later this week and restaurants until later this month, but elsewhere, many businesses are allowed to reopen. Some aren't, however. [Source: AP]
Florida Trend Exclusive
Orlando's mayor: Buddy Dyer
At the turn of the 21st century, downtown Orlando was foundering. At the center of the revitalization is John Hugh “Buddy” Dyer, the 61-year-old Democrat who’s Orlando’s longest-serving mayor. His political acumen — and the ability to serve for more than 17 years — has helped him get a lot done. Orlando is one of a few cities in Florida without term limits for mayors, allowing Dyer to stick around long enough to advance the ball on important civic issues and signature development projects. [Source: Florida Trend]
Data shows no significant drop in Florida's COVID-19 case numbers
As more Florida businesses and services reopen across the state this week, health data has shown that the number of coronavirus cases has continued to rise at a relatively stable rate. Florida restaurants, retail and select businesses, such as gyms, barbershops and nail salons, were allowed to reopen Monday at 50% capacity and with several precautions in place, including social distancing of six feet and temperature checks. Restaurants had begun reopening at the beginning of the month to 25% capacity. [Source: ABC News]
Stock up on hurricane supplies during sales tax holiday
For a week, Floridians can stock up on hurricane supplies without paying sales tax. From May 29 to June 4, a number of items will be exempt from sales tax. The tax holiday does not apply to sales in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging or airports, and rental or repair of qualifying items. Forecasts predict this year’s hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, will be above-average. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida lags in paying pandemic unemployment assistance to the self-employed
Florida has struggled to get the benefit to independent contractors and self-employed workers, running far behind many other states. It took weeks for Florida to set up a separate system to distribute the federal money, and even now applicants say the process is difficult to navigate and frustratingly byzantine. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Pensacola's Southern Oaks offering thousands in signing bonuses for nurses, LPNs and CNAs
Southern Oaks Care Center in Pensacola is now offering thousands of dollars in bonuses for registered nurses, LPNs and CNAs joining their team. About three weeks ago, Southern Oaks topped the list of the most COVID-19 cases in Florida's long-term care facilities. Since then, administrator Louis Petty says they've reduced the amount of infections by over 75% -- from 94 to 23.
› All Panhandle counties can reopen vacation rentals
All Panhandle counties can reopen vacation rentals, the Secretary of Florida's Department of Business & Professional Regulation confirmed to WCTV Tuesday afternoon. Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Gulf, Franklin and Bay counties are among the counties that can reopen vacation rentals, according to State Representative Jason Shoaf.
› Darden Restaurants reopens nearly half its dining rooms; employees to return to Orlando headquarters
The Orlando-based owner of Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and other chain restaurants has opened back up nearly half of its more than 1,800 dining rooms as coronavirus restrictions across the country have been eased. Darden Restaurants said 49% of its dining rooms had reopened as of Sunday, and it expected more than 65% of them to open with limited capacity by the end of the month.
› St. Pete Records opening new store in Warehouse Arts District
St. Pete Records closed its store at 6648 Central Ave. back on March 17, right as the coronavirus was shutting down the retail world. “See ya when we see ya,” owners wrote that day on Facebook. They’re almost ready to see you again — albeit in an entirely new spot.
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