September 24, 2020

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 8/3/2020

With $600 checks disappearing, unemployed Floridians are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of problems

For the last four months, unemployed Floridians were handed a lifeline through the $600 weekly benefits doled out by the federal CARES Act. The payments were a critical supplement to Florida’s standard benefits, which are among the stingiest in the nation. And the $9 billion in payments sent to Floridians was a major boost to the state’s fraying economy, which has been decimated by the pandemic. No longer. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.

Florida’s top business regulator starts meetings with bars and breweries in Jacksonville

Florida’s top business regulator was meeting with bar and brewery owners Friday in Jacksonville to talk about how to reopen their businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic. Meetings are also being arranged in Pensacola, Tallahassee and the Tampa Bay area and other meetings are being considered for next week depending on the path of Hurricane Isaias, according to a department spokesman. The department did not release which bar owners Beshears would be meeting with, and they will not be open to the news media.[Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Grab, heat and eat: Florida chefs pivot to prepared meals to go for quarantined diners

Battered by half-empty dining rooms and pitiful takeout sales, Florida restaurant chefs got creative this summer and transformed their kitchens to pump out a surprising new moneymaker: precooked meals to-go. Designed with quarantined customers in mind, these prepared meals are meant to be picked up or delivered, refrigerated at home, then heated in the oven or microwave. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

How tax-free weekend for back-to-school supplies will look different in a pandemic

The coronavirus can mess with how children will learn at the start of the 2020-21 school year. But one thing COVID-19 hasn’t put a halt to is Florida’s annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, which is set to begin Aug. 7 and run through Aug. 9. Qualifying items are exempt from Florida’s sales tax during the promotion and include a number of supplies selling for $15 or less, per item. [Source: Miami Herald]

Unclaimed property could spell relief for COVID-stressed Floridians

More people are applying for unclaimed funds from the state of Florida to get through COVID-19 financial troubles. Millions in bank accounts, inheritances, refunds and other property are all waiting to be retrieved by Florida residents at the state Department of Financial Services — if they would only file a claim, says Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Petronis. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]


› Decline in traffic tickets may result in eviction backlog in cash-strapped Pinellas courts
Plummeting traffic tickets have blown a hole in the budgets of local courts millions of dollars wide. Fewer people have been driving during the pandemic, and many cops are also practicing social distancing by avoiding minor traffic stops. Fewer tickets means less money for courts. As a result, Pinellas County’s clerk of courts warns, operations will be dramatically slower for civil cases — including for evictions and foreclosure filings that may skyrocket in the coming months.

› Four ‘central figures’ agree to testify in City Council's JEA probe
Four witnesses linked to JEA’s 2019 attempt to privatize have agreed to give sworn depositions to Jacksonville City Council investigators after a committee voted to seek subpoenas for their testimony. This comes a day after former city Chief of Staff Sam Mousa’s attorney Chuck Arnold emailed Council’s independent attorney Steve Busey of the Smith Hulsey & Busey firm agreeing for Mousa to testify under the threat of subpoena.

› Ruth’s Hospitality reports $17.6 million net loss in second quarter
The Winter Park owner of Ruth’s Chris Steak House reported a net loss of $17.6 million for the quarter that ended June 28, but the business saw signs of improvement as dining rooms reopened from coronavirus restrictions. Ruth’s Hospitality Group said Friday total revenue for the quarter was $28.4 million, compared with $110.2 million in the same quarter last year.

› Jaguars worth $2.33 billion, rank 23rd among NFL teams on Forbes' annual list
The Jaguars have not enjoyed a winning record since 2017, but they continue to increase in financial value as a franchise. In the annual team valuation rankings released this week by Forbes, the Jaguars came in at 44th, with owner Shad Khan’s franchise worth $2.33 billion. in 2019, the Jaguars ranked 49th with the franchise's worth $2.08 billion.

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