Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Boating is big business in Florida. Will sales rebound and if so when?
In Florida, with 961,266 registered vessels enjoying over 2,000 miles of tidal coastline, boating is a lifestyle. It's also big business. Following the Miami International Boat Show in mid-February, all indicators suggested 2020 was going to be a banner year for boat sales. Dealers and manufacturers were thrilled at the prospects of filling orders and enjoying a prosperous year. Then came COVID-19. Like someone flipping a light switch, it all went dark. [Source: TCPalm]
COVID-19 has likely quickened the end of malls as we knew them
Malls were already trying to adapt to consumers’ changing tastes before the virus. They began to focus on experiences that can’t be replicated with online shopping. The virus is likely to bring more vacancies and at a faster rate than mall owners are prepared to manage. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz to step down as company changes its direction
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz will step down as CEO, the tech company announced late Thursday. Abovitz has led the company, which creates virtual reality software, since 2011. “As the Board and I planned the changes we made and what Magic Leap needs for this next focused phase, it became clear to us that a change in my role was a natural next step,” Abovitz wrote in a note posted on the company’s website. Abovitz also confirmed reports that the company has raised “significant” new funding. This will be used to make products for commercial uses, which the company sees as its new direction. [Source: Miami Herald]
Touchless options the new norm in grocery industry
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t so much alter the future of the supermarket industry as much as hasten it. Trends that had already begun — including online shopping, drive-by pickup, robotics and artificial intelligence — got a boost during the COVID-19 economic shutdown because they offered alternatives to shoppers wary of crowded supermarkets, increasing the threat of coronavirus infection, two industry analysts said. [Source: Florida Times-Union]
Florida cities rank high in best cities for staycations list
As more and more counties in Florida open back up after months of staying home orders, some might consider staycationing right here in our home state. WalletHub compared more than 180 cities across 15 key metrics. Florida cities like Orlando, Tallahassee and Jacksonville made the list. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida Cracker Kitchen opens in San Marco
Florida Cracker Kitchen recently opened its second Jacksonville restaurant, this one in historic San Marco. It is open for dine-in, takeout and delivery service, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Jacksonville becomes the first city with two Florida Cracker Kitchen restaurants, the company’s website shows.
› Canada’s answer to Chip and Joanna Gaines coming to HGTV by way of Florida
Bryan and Sarah Baeumler are big on HGTV Canada. Maybe not American HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines big. No, not yet. But big enough, they get mobbed at Canadian airports when they travel to their homes in West Palm Beach or the Bahamas.
› SpaceX and NASA looking at only 40% chance of good weather for Saturday’s astronaut launch
Never underestimate Florida weather. As NASA and SpaceX learned Wednesday, when touch-and-go weather conditions took them through almost an entire launch countdown before lingering storms put a stop to America’s return to human spaceflight, Florida weather in the summer is as unpredictable as Florida traffic can be any time of year.
› Tourists will return to Southwest Florida, but it will never be the same
Southwest Florida's tourism industry has gone from thriving to surviving. Before the coronavirus pandemic threw it a curve ball, you might say the region's tourism industry was batting 1,000 — or at least close to it. In January and February, Lee and Collier counties saw more visitors than they did in the same months in 2019 — a banner year for tourism in the region.
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