December 4, 2020

Thursday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 11/19/2020

Florida retailers expect decrease in 2020 holiday sales

Due to economic struggles caused by the coronavirus pandemic, retailers in Florida are expecting a five percent decrease in holiday sales this year. The average consumer is expected to spend 998 dollars on gifts in 2020, about 50 dollars less than last year. The holiday shopping season is the biggest time of the year for stores, with shops making 20 to 40 percent of their annual sales during the month before Christmas. [Source: WMFE]

Florida official results: 77,400 voters chose 'none of the above' for president

When it came to choosing a president this year, 77,400 Floridians just couldn't make up their minds. Or didn't like their choices. Or got confused. Either they chose no candidate or disqualified their vote by bubbling in too many candidates. Still others wrote in the name of someone who had not qualified as an official write-in candidate. Although it's a tiny fraction of the total vote, it's also Florida, where elections are sometimes decided by margins of 1% or less. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Carnival cancels all cruises through January, but ships returning to Florida to ramp up for sailing

Carnival Cruise Line has opted to not sail from the U.S. until at least February next year as it ramps its efforts to adhere to stringent requirements from the CDC on how to resume safe cruising amid the coronavirus pandemic. In an announcement Wednesday, the line canceled all sailings from U.S. homeports set to sail from Jan. 1-31, all sailings from Baltimore, Charleston, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Mobile, New Orleans and San Diego through Feb. 28; and all sailings on Carnival Legend from Tampa through March 26. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida utility regulators will ask for law changes that allow secrecy at public hearings

State utility regulators are planning to ask for legislative changes that would allow them to conduct portions of public hearings in secret. The legislative push, brought up at a Tuesday internal affairs meeting, was spurred by a recent Duke Energy Florida case. An administrative law judge ordered the utility to return $16.1 million to customers. The public was barred from a majority of the proceedings because they were heavily reliant on confidential trade secrets. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida mandates human trafficking training

In an effort to crack down on human trafficking across Florida, a new law is going into effect mandating that all lodging establishments provide annual human trafficking awareness training for housekeeping and front desk employees. The state will require hotel owners and operators to provide training for new employees within 60 days after they begin employment in a housekeeping or reception area role, or by January 1, 2021, whichever occurs later. [Source: Hotel Business]

See also:
» More than 170 arrested in Florida human trafficking case


› Canadian border closing to COVID-19 stopped flow of snowbirds, affecting Polk County
In past years, Ann Rye would begin to see Canadian customers coming into her downtown Lakeland gift shop, Traditions Unlimited, around early November. So far: zero, zip, nada. “I don’t know whether it's COVID-19 in general or the snowbirds, but business is down,” said Rye, the store owner.

› New Gainesville salon sees business grow as manicures become a simple luxury during pandemic
In an era of face masks, nail polish may be the new lipstick. Pro Paris Nails and Spa, located at 150 NW 13th St., became the closest nail salon to the UF campus after its Oct. 12 opening. The business has a steady flow of customers all day long, said manager John Nguyen. Nail polish has replaced lipstick as the new small luxury since lips are now hidden under masks. When COVID-19 hit in March, salons closed and people bought nail polish to use at home.

› Jacksonville Housing Authority CEO finalists have all withdrawn from hunt
The Jacksonville Housing Authority is back to square one in its search for a CEO after the third finalist still in the running withdrew from consideration. "We currently do not have any candidates," board member Roslyn Mixon-Phillips said Monday during an update at the board meeting.

› Miami Beach hunts for venue sponsorship revenue
Miami Beach commissioners, who seek to reduce the city’s dependence on tourism as that sector continues to falter, explored on Friday the first category of opportunities for economic expansion laid out by city administration: sponsorship opportunities and naming rights.

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