December 4, 2020

Thursday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 10/22/2020

Florida to investigate all COVID-19 deaths after questions about ‘integrity’ of data

Florida, which has reported the deaths of over 16,400 people from COVID-19, now says the public may not be able to trust any of those numbers. The state Department of Health on Wednesday ordered an investigation of all pandemic fatalities, one week after House Speaker Jose Oliva slammed the death data from medical examiners as “often lacking in rigor” and undermining "the completeness and reliability of the death records.” House Democrats then blasted the House Republicans' report as an insult to coronavirus victims and an attempt “to downplay the death toll.” More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida voters have already cast more mail ballots than entire 2016 election

With just under two weeks to go, more Floridians have cast vote-by-mail ballots in the 2020 general election than those who did so for the entire 2016 presidential election. More than 2.95 million voters have returned mail ballots for this election either through the mail or by dropping them off at drop boxes or elections offices, according to data from the Florida Division of Elections. That surpasses the 2.73 million voters who used that method in 2016. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida regulators to seek more details about injuries suffered on theme park rides

State regulators plan to talk with Florida’s biggest theme parks about making their visitor injury reports more accurate after an Orlando Sentinel investigation revealed that Universal Orlando had disclosed a tourist’s broken neck as “numbness” and a child’s broken foot and leg bones as “foot pain.” The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will bring up the issue in January with Disney World, Universal, SeaWorld, Legoland and Busch Gardens, spokesman Max Flugrath wrote in an email this week. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

AutoNation’s net profits rise by 83% — boosted by shortage of new cars and higher prices for used cars

As the U.S. economy bounced back from the COVID-19 spring shutdown, consumers found new cars in short supply and opted instead for used cars at higher prices. Increased demand and higher used-car prices boosted net profits for Fort Lauderdale-based mega-dealer AutoNation by 83% in the third financial quarter of July 1 to Sept. 30, the company reported Wednesday. For the quarter, AutoNation reported $183 million in net profits from continuing operations, compared to $100 million in the third quarter of 2019. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Stein Mart records another profit since bankruptcy

Stein Mart Inc. recorded its second straight monthly profit since filing for Chapter 11, according to an operating report filed Oct. 20 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division. The fashion retailer, which has been holding going-out-of-business sales since the Aug. 12, filing reported sales of $99 million and net income of $3.9 million for the period from Aug. 30 to Oct. 3. [Source: Jacksonville Daily Record]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Pasco pulls out of Super Bowl sponsorship plan
When Pasco tourism officials in June pitched the idea of spending $250,000 to buy into sponsorship of the Super Bowl in Tampa in February 2021, it seemed like the perfect fit for a county selling itself as Florida’s Sports Coast. After all, the last Super Bowl drew a viewing audience of more than 100 million across 130 countries and brought in more than 5,800 credentialed media representatives and 125,000 outside visitors.

› Nerd Nite Orlando returns with online event Friday after seven months off
Following a coronavirus-inspired hiatus of seven months, Nerd Nite Orlando is bringing Central Florida an at-home edition of the educational event on Oct. 23. For the first seven years of its existence, Nerd Nite hosted packed crowds at venues such as Stardust, The Geek Easy and The Abbey. Then, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the event took a break, canceling its big anniversary celebration just days before it was scheduled to happen.

› Jon Paul Pérez to succeed his father Jorge Pérez as president of The Related Group
Jon Paul Pérez has been named president of The Related Group, the biggest real estate development firm in Florida founded by his father, Jorge Pérez, in 1979. Jorge Pérez, 71, will continue to serve as chairman and CEO of the company, which has developed more than $40 billion in projects throughout the state and other cities in the U.S.

› Disney: Epcot arts fest set for January start
Walt Disney World has shared a few details about the upcoming Epcot International Festival of the Arts, including its dates. The event will run Jan. 8-Feb. 22. A post on the official Disney Parks Blog lists many of the elements seen in previous arts festivals at the theme park, including 15 “food studios,” guest artists, a Figment-based scavenger hunt, artistic step-in photo opportunities and a giant paint-by-number mural that involves crowd participation.

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