January 17, 2021

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 11/30/2020

Business groups demand that Florida craft virus lawsuit protections

Business groups have been clamoring for months for Florida lawmakers to enact measures aimed at protecting stores, cruise ships, health care providers and nursing homes slapped by hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Florida’s new Republican leaders say they are willing to approve some safeguards for businesses. But how far they’ll go is uncertain. Meanwhile, some question whether there really is a looming courtroom crisis. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Florida soon will hit 1 million coronavirus cases. How did we get here?

One million coronavirus cases. Florida is on track to hit that mark within days, the most staggering milestone in the virus’ deadly spread across the state. On Friday, the total stood at 979,020, at a time when the toll hovers around 8,000 cases a day. In a year that has felt like a decade, and with “pandemic fatigue” a regular part of the lexicon, it can be hard to recall how we got here. But jog your memory: Remember when there were just a handful of confirmed cases? When testing wasn’t just a drive-through away? When people told each other, “If we can just make it through April …” [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Shows of appreciation, sales boosts at local shops on Small Business Saturday

Some Florida shops stepped into the spotlight this weekend, as Small Business Saturday brought outpourings of support from the community toward the end of a year filled with challenges and setbacks. Nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday gives business owners across the country a chance to receive support and a boost during a difficult time. More from WSVN, WTXL, and the Miami Herald.

Publix lauded nationally for crisis leadership, employee satisfaction

Publix, Bloomin’ Brands and BayCare Health System — some of the region’s largest entities, in both annual revenue and payrolls — have something to celebrate amid the pandemic that’s upended their business models. Lakeland-based Publix and Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands, parent of Outback Steakhouse, are two of five companies that made Global Finance magazine’s 2020 list Outstanding Crisis Leadership, in the overall corporate excellence category. [Source: Business Observer]

Plan to import drugs into U.S. and Florida faces legal challenge

An influential pharmaceutical lobbying group is suing to end the Trump administration’s plan to allow prescription drugs to be imported from Canada into the United States. That could have major implications for Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump have highlighted state and federal efforts to lower the cost of prescriptions. DeSantis announced last week that Florida’s importation plan had been submitted to the federal government. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Florida’s emergency communications channel hacked, according to state official
The Florida Division of Emergency Management says someone hacked into a system used to send emergency communications earlier this month and sent an unauthorized message to members of the State Emergency Response Team responsible for coordinating public health and medical response. The Nov. 10 message, obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, urged recipients to “speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.”

› Miami Art Week lives — in storefronts, on the beach, and online. Here’s what’s happening
Given the pandemic, Miami Art Week will look a little different this year. But you can still satisfy your creative cravings at local events and virtual exhibitions beginning in late November. From beach-side installations and outdoor art parks to digital galleries and a massive Dali sculpture, Miami’s creative minds have risen to the challenge of keeping art alive and safely accessible this year.

› Fish kill strikes Indian River along Merritt Island, leaving hundreds of dead fish
Hundreds of dead small silvery baitfish floated Friday atop murky greenish-brown waters along the State Road 520 causeway on Merritt Island, victims of a deadly algae bloom. “There are a few big fish floating dead. I see a number of larger fish kind of on the bottom," said Duane De Freese, executive director of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, standing on a dock near Ms. Apples Crab Shack.

› After 50 years, Calder runs its last horse race
Diligent won the final race at the track formerly known as Calder on Saturday, ending a half-century run of racing at the facility that was rebranded several years ago as Gulfstream Park West. It was a fitting finish: Eddie Plesa Jr., a member of Calder’s Hall of Fame, was the winning trainer in the final race at the facility. Plesa’s father, Eddie Plesa Sr., was one of the very first trainers at the facility when it opened in 1971.

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