September 24, 2020

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 8/10/2020

Saharan dust was Florida’s summer hurricane protector. Now it’s going away

The Saharan Air Layer was our summer friend, helping disrupt the conditions that develop Atlantic storms. But now our pal SAL is leaving at the worst possible time: the peak of hurricane season. This summer, in the midst of what could turn into a historic storm season, a historic Saharan phenomenon created a 24-day lull of tropical tranquility in the Atlantic Ocean. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Brightline cut ties with Virgin Enterprises. No more rebranding but projects continue

Brightline Trains has cut ties with Virgin Enterprises and will no longer be rebranding under them. A nearly two-year agreement ended. A July monthly revenue and ridership report from Brightline announced the news of Virgin and Brightline going separate ways. “We will no longer use the Virgin brand following our parent’s termination of its licensing agreement with Virgin Enterprises Limited [together with its affiliates, “Virgin”],” the report read. More from the Miami Herald,the Real Deal, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Court backs down on controversial Disney tax ruling

A Florida appellate court backed away Friday from a controversial ruling that could have made it much easier for Walt Disney World and other hotel companies to win lower property tax bills. The ruling arose out of a long-running legal battle between Disney and Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh over the value of Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort, a nearly 1,200-room luxury hotel with an annual property tax bill of more than $4 million. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Steep homeowners insurance rate hikes on the way

Florida homeowners are in the cross-hairs of private insurance companies as many are raising property insurance premiums to offset record losses. Some homeowners are feeling sticker shock. “I don’t think we have a choice because we need the insurance,” says Heidi Epstein, who owns half a duplex in Jupiter. The Florida Department of Insurance allowed some companies to raise premiums from 12-40% but Epstein’s rates may double. Her insurer will soon stop doing business in Florida. [Source: WFLX]

Masks will be encouraged but not required at Florida polling places

Voting, like everything else this year, is going to be different. Election officials are gearing up with hand sanitizer, gloves, masks and other personal protection equipment and rearranging voting booths to protect against the coronavirus pandemic. Voters, at least those who opt to vote in person, can expect to feel the changes before they enter the early voting or polling precinct. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› How the pandemic is reshaping Central Florida’s retail market
As the COVID-19 pandemic began ramping up around the U.S., Central Florida was hit hard by theme park closures, stay-at-home orders and restrictions put on out-of-state visitors. For a region that typically sees more than 76 million visitors each year, a more than two-month shutdown dramatically altered the fabric of the area.

› Daytona area braces for more layoffs, business closures
Local economy watchers here confirm what national economists are predicting: a new surge in coronavirus pandemic-fueled layoffs and business closures is coming. “We’re going to see more layoffs unless Congress acts soon,” said Tom Daly, director of the Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College. The needed action Daly was referring to is a new round of coronavirus emergency relief aid for businesses and workers.

› Florida gives Citrus County millions for COVID-19 relief
$6,500,000. That’s how much Citrus County just received from the State of Florida for COVID-19 financial relief. The grant is designed to help small businesses that have been hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic. Affected business owners can apply for up a grant of up to $7,500. Applications are due at 5 p.m. on August 14.

› 10-digit phone dialing is coming to Panhandle as new area code kicks in
Ten-digit dialing will be needed for all calls in the 850 area code starting Feb. 20, in advance of the addition of another area code of 448 for northwest Florida, the state Public Service Commission said Friday. A transition period will begin Aug. 22, with people able to dial seven-digit numbers or 10-digit numbers in the 850 area code, which includes communities such as Tallahassee, Panama City and Pensacola.

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