Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida’s unemployment claims more than triple to highest level since August
Applications for jobless aid in Florida unexpectedly soared last week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday — a sign that the economic misery wrought by the coronavirus pandemic continues. For the week ending Jan. 9, new applications for unemployment assistance tripled from 24,697 to 75,444. So-called continuing claims, or the number of filers receiving assistance for at least two straight weeks, climbed from 129,575 to 155,097. More from the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Florida to begin statewide appointment system for vaccine
Florida’s director of emergency management said Thursday that a statewide appointment system for COVID vaccinations should be ready within weeks, bringing order to the chaos marking Florida's rollout of vaccines to its most vulnerable residents. Director Jared Moskowitz described plans for the online portal in an appearance before a legislative house committee holding hearings on the pandemic in Tallahassee. More from the AP and WKMG.
Florida orange groves shrivel just as Americans return to juice
It’s not looking like a good year for America’s orange juice. Shriveling from adverse weather and a deadly disease, Florida’s famed orange groves are projected to bear one of the smallest crops in decades, according to new government data. All this at a time when stay-at-home life during the pandemic has caused Americans to guzzle more juice from the fruit. While it’s bad news for citrus lovers, the looming supply deficit could draw more investors and lift futures markets for orange juice. More from Bloomberg and Fresh Plaza.
Florida advocates join national call for utility disconnect moratorium
Hundreds of advocacy and faith groups from around the country urged the incoming president and vice president to enact a moratorium on utility shutoffs during the pandemic when they take office. In a Wednesday letter, more than 630 groups proposed an executive order that would prevent water, power, heat and broadband from being disconnected if customers cannot afford their bills during the pandemic. Among the signatories were 13 Florida advocacy groups. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida officials say they’re ready if Tallahassee Trump rallies get violent
President Donald Trump supporters are expected to rally in Tallahassee against President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, but the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) said it knows of no threats of violence against lawmakers and officials. The FDLE said it has ramped-up security at the Florida Capitol Complex in response to an FBI warning that armed protests are planned in Washington and in all 50 state capitols before and during Biden‘s inauguration Jan. 20. The FDLE would not elaborate on how it was doing so, citing security concerns. [Source: The Center Square]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Miami boat, yacht shows combining to create new ‘Super Bowl’ of marine exhibitions
After years of dueling dates and locations, Miami’s three major boating shows will combine to create one annual mega-event starting in 2022. The Miami International Boat Show, the Miami Yacht Show, and Superyacht Miami will now collectively be known as the Miami International Boat Show. The event will be managed by Informa Markets — the largest exhibitor group in the world — with direction and guidance from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
› Big Lee's, the barbecue king of Ocala, is ready to expand its footprint
Customers drive from Gainesville, The Villages and beyond to feast on smoked ribs, brisket and "burnt ends," which are actually moist and “the best part of the brisket,” Big Lee's owner Rashad Jones said. Jones opened the business in 2013 as a hobby. Helping out was Patrice, a former professor at Santa Fe College. They started soon after winning a local "bad to the bone" barbecue competition.
› Property owner near Disney World unveils $1 billion resort community
Hilton’s contemporary luxury Conrad hotel brand is setting up shop next to Disney World, as part of Dart Interests’ $1 billion Grand Cypress redevelopment plans that have been quietly in the works for several years. The 433-room Conrad Orlando hotel will be accompanied by a series of first-class vacation home rentals — all developed and owned by Dart Interests and centrally managed by a single entity.
› Pinellas film commission seeks $500,000 incentive for a movie, commercial hybrid
A Taste of Love, a 90-minute Hallmark Channel-like romance movie, will be shot throughout Pinellas County later this year, filmmakers say. The St. Petersburg/Clearwater Film Commission says the film will double as a commercial for Pinellas tourism.
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