Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
White House Task Force warns Florida of ‘significant’ COVID deaths
As new COVID-19 vaccination sites open across the region, the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report warns that Florida faces “significant fatalities” in the coming weeks from the rapidly spreading infection. The state continues to be in the most dangerous “red zone” for its number of new infections, the report notes, citing an acceleration that began shortly before Thanksgiving. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida's veteran impact
Among the major factors that spurred Florida’s growth after World War II was the in-migration of hundreds of thousands of Americans who had trained at the 172 military installations the state hosted during the war. As the population of veterans shrinks, states are competing to attract retired veterans, who bring federal dollars and job skills. Florida is trying to stay at the top of the pack. [Source: Florida Trend]
Revived vacation rental bill signals renewed Florida preemption push
Short-term rentals of homes by Florida residents is an estimated $31 billion industry, with 6.6 million visitors in 2019 staying in a home rented via a digital platform rather than in a hotel and generating about $1.2 billion in state, county and local fees and tax revenues. Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah Gardens, filed Senate Bill 522 on Monday. It seeks to place vacation rental regulation exclusively under the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s (FDBPR) Division of Hotels and Restaurants. More from The Center Square and the Tampa Bay Times.
Commissioner Nikki Fried Wwrns Floridians of COVID-19 vaccine scams
As the state’s consumer protection agency, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried are warning consumers of scams surrounding availability of the COVID-19 vaccine. Joining warnings from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), FDACS is providing consumer tips and spreading the message to ensure Floridians can avoid these scams. Read the warning from Commissioner Fried and read more at Space Coast Daily.
Florida National Guard to support inauguration in D.C.
Members of the Florida National Guard will be in Washington D.C. for inauguration support, according to a guard spokesperson. This follows the activation of thousands of other states’ guardsmen in response to the siege of the Capitol building last week by Trump supporters. Florida guardsmen, like those in other states, have been engaged in helping with coronavirus testing and vaccination sites. Overall, 31,000 National Guard members across the country were supporting homeland operations by Tuesday, according to a release. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Publix soon to have COVID-19 vaccinations at 105 stores
Publix will soon offer COVID-19 vaccinations in 105 stores across 12 counties, more than tripling the size of the program since it launched last week. The Lakeland chain had announced the number of stores would grow to 49 on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it said that number would soon be 105 with new sites in Collier, Flagler, St. Johns and Volusia counties.
› Sarasota County rejects offer to settle Baltimore Orioles spring training stadium lawsuit
Sarasota County has rejected a $513,000 settlement proposal from the company that renovated Ed Smith Stadium. The county filed the lawsuit in 2016 against Gilbane Building Co. because of alleged cracks and defects in the concrete concourse at the Baltimore Orioles’ spring training home in Sarasota. The case is expected to go to trial in April or May.
› Despite COVID turmoil, construction underway at PortMiami’s newest cruise terminal
By November, PortMiami will open another glossy new cruise terminal in its years-long effort to remake the city skyline. Despite cruising’s pandemic stall, Miami-Dade County celebrated groundbreaking Tuesday for the palm grove-inspired Terminal V — named for the industry’s newest cruise company, Virgin Voyages.
› Tampa Black-owned beauty supply store sees community support
Pamela Thompson, 37, was still working for the federal government when she opened her beauty supply boutique and salon in Tampa in late 2019. She quit that job to run her business full time in early 2020. “Some people may think that I’m crazy for leaving a career in that comfort zone,” she said. “But I’ve always wanted to own my business.”
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