October 24, 2020

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 9/22/2020

Retailers expect Halloween spending dip, but not a big one

The pandemic delivered a gut punch to the state and national economy, but Floridians still plan on making this Halloween a memorable one. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend $8.08 billion celebrating the holiday. That’s a significant decrease from the $8.78 billion consumers spent last year, but the decline isn’t as bad as once feared. [Source: Florida Politics]

DeSantis proposes law to quash ‘disorderly assemblies’ in wake of Floyd, other protests

With top law enforcement officers and legislative Republicans by his side, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his support for a sweeping crackdown on what he called “unlawful assemblies” statewide. DeSantis on Monday announced proposals to the state’s legislature that would include enhanced penalties for protesters who block traffic and protesters who participate in “disorderly assemblies.” People who gather in ways the government deems illegal will be subject to felony charges, DeSantis said. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.

Florida continues downward trend of lower single-day COVID death counts

Another 1,685 people in Florida have tested positive for COVID-19 and 21 more residents, and 14 non-residents, have died from the disease, according to state reports released Monday. The daily death toll represents a pattern of single-day low death counts, significantly lower than the 100-plus totals that had been more typical of the past two weeks. In addition, daily testing positivity rate stood at 4.34% Monday, the 10th straight day it came in below 5%, a key target for decisions whether to allow the resumption of normal life. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Where to invest money in a pandemic? Many are betting on warehouses

At a time where preventing the spread of germs has necessitated companies shifting en masse to working from home and more consumers shopping online, the future of both office space and retail remains unclear. But in industrial real estate, which encompasses warehouses and manufacturing spaces, an area that already had momentum is seeing a boom. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Utilities lobby to change Florida’s solar net metering rule

Florida is one of 47 states that allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to sell the electricity they aren’t using back into the grid. Florida’s policy was initiated by an executive order in 2007 under former Gov. Charlie Crist and adopted by lawmakers in 2009. In 2016, Florida voters rejected Amendment 1, a utility-backed measure to limit rooftop solar expansion by doing away with the net metering rule and state connection requirements. [Source: The Center Square]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Sarasota Film Festival announces date for next year's event
Sarasota Film Festival, which typically draws acclaimed movies and celebrity guests to the Sarasota area every year, has announced the dates for its 2021 event. The 23rd annual festival is scheduled to take place April 30-May 9. Film submissions are now being accepted.

› Tampa places cigars, Cuban bread and beer on the line in Stanley Cup
Is it the mayoral bet equivalent of a power play? Jane Castor promised to send cigars, Cuban bread and craft beer to Dallas if the Stars beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup. If the Bolts win, though, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson will send craft beer, candy apples and brisket.

› Puerto Rican population in metro Orlando dips back to pre-Hurricane Maria levels
The Puerto Rican population in Central Florida returned to pre-Hurricane Maria levels, according to the latest American Community Survey, conducted yearly by the U.S. Census Bureau. The newest estimate of Puerto Ricans is roughly 385,000 in Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties, which is similar to before the Category 5 storm ravaged the island in mid-September 2017, driving many Puerto Ricans to Central Florida.

› Sarasota County libraries look to the Internet to boost digital literacy
As a digital services librarian for Sarasota County, Heather Gorman was used to seeing 30 people at a time who wanted to learn about using their iPhone, iPad or other Apple devices. Public libraries, she said, have always been an “institutional mainstay” where people could go for answers – whether for research, entertainment or simply learning a new skill.

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Florida Trend Video Pick

Rare, two-headed snake found in Palm Harbor home
Rare, two-headed snake found in Palm Harbor home

A family in Palm Harbor recently found a rare creature in their home – a two-headed snake. FWC researchers said the phenomenon is named bicephaly – an uncommon occurrence that happens during snake embryo development. When two monozygotic twins fail to separate, it leaves the heads conjoined onto a single body.

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