January 17, 2021

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 1/11/2021

Florida’s vaccine rollout so far: not enough doses, ‘no real plan’

The highly anticipated rollout of coronavirus vaccines in Florida has so far been hindered by supply issues, inconsistent communication and chaotic distribution plans. A month after the U.S. approved its first vaccine, nearly 444,000 Floridians have received at least one dose as of Friday. Millions more have faced confusion, frustration and mixed messages as the state struggles to get vaccines to the people who need them most. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

See also:
» Florida’s 12,313 new COVID-19 cases, 111 deaths are the highest for a Sunday since July
» Florida coronavirus hospitalizations, deaths and cases rise again, resembling summer surge
» How hard will it be to vaccinate Florida? Here are the numbers.
» Sen. Scott asks Florida’s Surgeon General for vaccine rollout answers
» When do experts think Florida will reach herd immunity?

Scrap or salvage? State lawmakers weigh future of Florida’s unemployment system

A new committee composed of six Florida Senate Republicans and four Democrats will convene Thursday to embark on a broad review of the state government's response to the coronavirus pandemic — and what can be improved should the state face similar crises in the future. “It’s going to look at the entire response to the pandemic,” said committee member and state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation. “We're going to look at things that went well, things that didn’t go right, and how we can fix the wrongs and have a robust system in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” [Source: Palm Beach Post]

Florida hemp farming grows as CBD demand rises

Within the next few years hemp farming in Florida is projected to grow to about half the size of the state's citrus industry. Much of that growth is driven by CBD production. State lawmakers passed legislation in 2019 that okayed hemp farming in Florida. Since then, Cannabis director Holly Bell says the industry has taken off. Hemp is made from the same kind of plant as marijuana, but hemp plants are non-euphoric. In Florida, Bell says most of the hemp grown is produced for CBD products. More from WLRN and NorthEscambia.com.

Florida business leaders condemn Capitol violence, pledge unified stance

Business leaders from across Florida issued strongly worded condemnations of the violence that broke out at the nation’s capitol complex this week. Both the Florida Council of 100, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce issued separate releases on the matter. “Americans have had a proud history of peaceful Presidential transitions—one of the great hallmarks of our democracy. Unfortunately, what we saw from the protests yesterday diminished and tarnished that historic and noble record,” read the opening line of a full page release from the executive leaders of Florida’s prestigious Council of 100. [Source: Capitolist]

College Football Playoff National Championship Game expected to bring much-needed relief to South Florida’s COVID-damaged tourism industry

The upcoming college football championship game to be played in South Florida is a nice bit of business for our local tourism economy and it might even reap benefits beyond just another Miami event. On Monday, January 11, at 8 p.m., powerhouse Alabama will take on Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Hard Rock Stadium. The game is expected to bring a little relief to the South Florida COVID-damaged tourism economy. [Source: CBS Miami]

Trend Mention

Mention ImageUF's Pandemic Pivot

In 2020, as an uneasy world confronted an uncertain future, University of Florida researchers joined what has been called the pandemic pivot, veering from decades-long research programs to tackle any aspect of the pandemic to which they could lend expertise. Read about how these scientific warriors responded to what likely will be viewed as the greatest science challenge of a generation.


› Here’s why Mayor Francis Suarez is still urging tech companies to #MoveToMiami
Mayor Francis Suarez spent the last few days of 2020 courting tech companies to move to Miami, in large part with the help of Twitter. In a press conference Friday morning, the mayor said he will continue the effort to prepare Miami for the future and ensure home-grown tech leaders.

› ‘We need the relief.’ Orlando businesses anxiously await 2nd round of PPP loans
Following a dismal December during which America shed 140,000 jobs, the Small Business Administration is set to begin rolling out the second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, offering salvation for some Orlando employers struggling to stay afloat as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens. “We need the relief, otherwise we won’t be able to stay open,” said Joey Conicella, who owns the restaurant Hungry Pants with his husband, Alex Marin, and plans to apply for a PPP loan.

› South Florida couple took their ‘aphrodisiac’ snack bar to TV’s ‘Shark Tank’
As lifestyle enhancement products go, this one raises the bar. The snack bar, that is. It’s a product developed by a Boynton Beach couple who promote it as an an aphrodisiac that doesn’t require a doctor’s visit, medical insurance, or unmarked packaging. And it’s loaded with chocolate and almonds. Jennifer and Michael Gallagher took their His & Her Bar to ABC’s “Shark Tank” Friday, hoping to walk away with a deal that brings their unique snack-bar-with-a-twist to the masses.

› Auto dealership expands out of Florida with acquisition
The Crown Automotive Group, one of the top 100 privately-held dealership groups in the United States, has acquired Kelly Subaru in Chattanooga, Tenn. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. The acquisition in the greater Chattanooga market extends St. Pete-based Crown’s footprint in the region, according to a statement, adding to a pair of Chrysler dealerships it operates there.

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