Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida’s economy under coronavirus: Pandemic devastated peak season
The COVID-19 pandemic’s first two months sent Florida’s major economic indicators into free-fall along with those in much of the rest of the world. And during what should have been the state’s major tourism season. Mass layoffs followed and the state’s unemployment system buckled beneath an unprecedented number of jobless Floridians seeking help. As the state begins to reopen, the Tampa Bay Times is tracking some of those key indicators. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Scams, scams everywhere in the age of COVID-19
During this time when all of us struggle to cope with the fear and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic that is COVID-19, there are people out there that just cannot resist the opportunity to prey upon our vulnerabilities to try to make a buck. Every crisis or sign of weakness triggers some people to try to take advantage of others. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida's fastest growing firms keep hiring during pandemic
Specialized and litigation-heavy firms outpaced others, even larger Am Law 200 firms, in growing their ranks of Florida attorneys last year, the Daily Business Review’s annual Review 100 survey found. And these fast-growing firms say they will continue to hire, even amid the coronavirus pandemic. [Source: Daily Business Review]
Business booming at Southwest Florida beaches
After months of closures, businesses at the beach are booming and hot temperatures this week are helping their cause. A busy beach means busy hotels, shops and restaurants. Ryan Nagle, general manager at Shuckers and the Cottage Bar on Fort Myers Beach, said business is good thanks to the state’s reopening and people’s need to get away. “We did not expect this, not at all. I don’t think anybody could’ve expected anything like this,” he said. [Source: WINK News]
Darden Restaurants says 60,000 furloughed employees are back to work
Orlando-based Darden Restaurants has brought back 60,000 of about 150,000 furloughed restaurant workers as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. At least another 40,000 restaurant workers are expected to return to work as business continues to improve, CEO Gene Lee said. “The investment that we made with emergency pay and paying their benefits, has really paid off,” Lee said during an earnings call Thursday. “We’ve had very little problem bringing our people back to work. ... Depending on the brand, we’re anywhere between 50 and 70% of the initial workforce coming back.” [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida homeowners, renters to get $250 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds
Floridians struggling to make their monthly rent and mortgage payments because of the coronavrius are in line for $250 million in federal money, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday. The money would come from the $2.2 trillion federal relief act signed into law in late March.
› Nascent car wash chain breaks ground on second location
Woodie’s Wash Shack, a car wash brand inspired by early 1960s surf culture, has begun construction on its first of several Hillsborough County locations. The company, led by veteran property developer Don Phillips, launched its debut car wash facility in St. Petersburg in April.
› Actors union asks Disney to delay opening Florida parks too
A day after Disney said it would delay reopening its California theme parks, the union representing actors at Walt Disney World said Thursday that the company should also postpone welcoming back guests at its Florida parks which are scheduled to reopen next month after being closed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
› St. Pete mayor ‘open-minded’ about allowing fans at Rays games
It’s “possible” the Rays could have fans attending games at Tropicana Field at some point this season, according to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “The mayor is open-minded on this,” communications director Ben Kirby said via text Thursday. “He’s talked to the Rays. Everyone would like to see the trajectory of the data change. But the mayor is receptive to learning more.”
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