Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
New filings for unemployment fall in Florida again—but continue to climb in the rest of the U.S.
The number of Floridians filing for unemployment benefits for the first time fell for the second-straight week. But the figure climbed in the rest of the U.S., suggesting the national economic picture remains grim. For the week ending July 25, Florida workers filed 87,062 new claims for unemployment, down from 108,976 the week prior. [Source: Miami Herald]
DeSantis backs Florida mail-in voting
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he supports Florida’s mail-in voting system but declined to address President Trump’s tweet suggesting a delay in the election because of his concern about voter fraud. “To just have ballots flying out there willy nilly, I do think that would be a mistake,” DeSantis said, but he did not answer a direct question about whether the election should be delayed. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the Tampa Bay Times.
Hurricane Isaias forms in Caribbean Sea and is still headed to South Florida
A hurricane is now churning toward Florida and taking aim at the southeastern part of the peninsula. The National Hurricane Center announced in a midnight bulletin that Tropical Storm Isaias had reached hurricane strength in the Caribbean Sea, becoming the second hurricane of the Atlantic storm season. Hurricane Isaias had 80 mph sustained winds — well over the 74 mph needed to become a Category 1 storm. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.
Florida fisheries wait for federal aid as prices take a deep dive
Federal officials this week defended the delay in releasing $300 million on fisheries assistance funding, including $23.4 million for Florida, saying the pandemic has set them behind in analyzing data to determine how much each fishery is due. Senators on the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee urged faster action to offset the impacts of COVID-19 on the seafood industry. Committee Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., noted that fisheries across the nation have experienced up to a 90 percent decline in sales. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Airlines setting stage for Florida layoffs
Airlines whose businesses have been battered by COVID-19 are setting the stage to lay off workers in Florida this fall, with United Airlines being the first to signal hundreds of firings in the state starting in October, according to filings with the Department of Economic Opportunity. Spirit Airlines of Miramar, which has had many employees on voluntary leaves, recently told workers that layoffs may be needed, calling the situation “fluid.” [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› New hotel concept opens first location with pandemic precautions top of mind
Opening a new hotel during the pandemic isn’t ideal, but France Langan is making the most of it. Langan is general manager of Compass by Margaritaville on Anna Maria Sound, a six-story, 123-room hotel that opened in Manatee County on July 15. The roughly $28 million hotel, developed by Sarasota-based Floridays Development Co. and managed by Hostmark Hospitality Group, is the latest Margaritaville lodging concept.
› Jacksonville small business owners offer insight into impact of RNC cancellation
Designed Events owners Mark Shine and John Montgomery have not taken a paycheck from their business since April. So when the Republican National Convention announced it was coming to Jacksonville, the two hoped it would bring a boost to their event planning and catering business, which has received little work since the start of the pandemic.
› Royal Caribbean parent company drops ‘Cruises’ from name
Royal Caribbean’s parent company dropped the word “Cruises” from its official name Thursday. Formerly “Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.” the cruise conglomerate will now officially be “Royal Caribbean Group,” according to a news release. The parent company is often confused with its flagship cruise-line, Royal Caribbean International. The group, which is headquartered in Miami, also owns Celebrity Cruises, Silversea, Azamara, TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
› Universal theme park revenue plummets 94% during height of coronavirus shutdowns
Plummeting faster than a roller coaster, revenue at Universal theme parks fell 94% to $87 million during the second quarter when most of its parks were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the parent company of the attractions said Thursday. With Orlando’s and Japan’s theme parks reopening in June in the final weeks of the quarter, executives acknowledged it is a better option financially to operate with drastically reduced crowds than to be closed completely.
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