July 12, 2020

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 6/2/2020

Tourist count fell 10.7% in first quarter, but Visit Florida report concedes the number could be worse

The number of Florida tourists fell 10.7% in the first quarter of 2020 from the same period a year earlier, a number that state estimators conceded might be too optimistic because of the effects of the coronavirus. The final month of the quarter, March, was slammed by the pandemic, which essentially shut down the theme parks and the rest of the hospitality industry statewide. A report posted online by Visit Florida, the state’s tourism-marketing arm, said “data previously used to estimate Florida visitation may not paint the full picture during COVID-19.” [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida’s unemployed must now wait in ‘virtual room’ before logging in, frustrating many

Unemployed Floridians are now required to “wait in line” to use the state’s unemployment website, further aggravating people who were already fed up with the system. Rather than allowing people to automatically log in to the state site, called CONNECT, users now have to enter a virtual “waiting room" with wait times longer than an hour. Users’ progress is indicated by a stick figure walking across the screen .More from the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times.

Gov. DeSantis extends moratorium on Florida evictions and foreclosures until July 1

With a little more than four hours to spare, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis extended his statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures to July 1, as part of his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The extension, which came as another executive order, was time-stamped at 7:06 p.m. and was publicly announced around 7:45 p.m. Without this order, the moratorium would have expired at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday morning. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

They made ends meet before coronavirus. Now they’re the ‘new poor.’

Mandy Bayarkhuu wants to make sure she’s spending every day usefully. She looks for work, then looks for help. Bayarkhuu, 35, lost her job as a product designer in February. She was sending out resumes when the pandemic hit. Now, as she and her husband fall back on his income driving for Uber, they are struggling to both pay the rent and navigate a safety net system that Bayarkhuu has concluded "is not set up for people like us.” The Tampa family is among millions of Americans who have been thrust into financial jeopardy by the coronavirus crisis and are getting crash course in how to find help. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Lowest Florida June 1st gas prices in 17 years

June begins with the lowest gas prices in Florida since 2003. The average price per gallon in the state was $1.90 per gallon, 70 cents less than one year ago. “Pump prices remain stifled by lower-than-average fuel demand caused by Covid-19,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. [Source: NorthEscambia.com]

Diverse Practice Group's legal guidance calms uncertain times

During stable and uncertain times alike, businesses often need professional legal guidance to navigate financial, economic, landlord-tenant, insurance, and general business issues. Tripp Scott this year assembled the Financial Distress Team. With almost 20 experienced legal professionals, we advise current and prospective clients on domestic and international legal issues arising from financial distress and uncertainty. [Sponsored report]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Tervis selling Sarasota County headquarters
Local drinkware maker Tervis is selling its North Venice headquarters and searching for a smaller Sarasota area property. When COVID-19 hit, the company shifted toward working remotely, a change that has worked out well. As a result, Tervis concluded it no longer needed its 12.5-acre Venice campus.

› IAAPA begins registration for 2020 Expo
Registration to attend the 2020 IAAPA Expo begins Tuesday. The Orlando-based International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions is moving ahead with its preparations for its annual gathering at the Orange County Convention Center in November as originally scheduled.

› Aventura Mall shut down Monday in anticipation of protest. But so far, all is quiet.
Aventura Mall shut down at 2 p.m. Monday in anticipation of a possible protest in the area on the heels of a weekend of demonstrations against police brutality across South Florida and the United States. Sgt. Hans Maestre, a spokesman for the Aventura Police Department, said the mall would stay closed Monday after police received information about the potential protest. The mall typically closes at 7 p.m.

› Florida Holocaust Museum continues its mission beyond St. Petersburg
While the Florida Holocaust Museum has been closed to the public since March 16, it continues to offer teachers and students educational resources. The museum’s executive director Elizabeth Gelman released an “open letter” to the community recently outlining the ways the museum is staying engaged with the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

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