Monday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Unemployment caused by COVID driving up Florida's Medicaid rolls — and costing billions
Florida's unemployment rate is more than double what it was a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has led to nearly 700,000 people signing up for Medicaid, the federal-state health care insurance plan that pays for the treatment of low-income patients. That will increase the state's cost to participate by about $1.2 billion for the 2021-22 budget year, according to state economists. More from the Tallahassee Democrat.
Florida gas prices spike, but this might be the end of the rise, experts say
Florida’s gas prices have reached an 11-month high. The good news for drivers is that this might be the top of the spike. That’s according to Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for the American Automobile Association. “Gas prices have been dragged higher by crude oil prices which remain at 11-month highs,” Jenkins said. “The gas price hike has likely hit its ceiling for now, as oil prices seemed to plateau last week. Despite optimism for the COVID-19 vaccine, crude prices slipped last week due to rising cases of coronavirus in two of the largest fuel consumers in the world: the United States and China.” More from WPLG.
Boca Raton’s Brightline station will finally see construction start this year
The long-planned Brightline station for Boca Raton is getting closer to being built, with the project’s first phase of construction scheduled to start in March. The pandemic led the rail line last year to stop running its trains, but that hasn’t halted plans to develop stations in Boca Raton, as well as in Aventura and at PortMiami. In Boca Raton, the build-out of a planned $46 million station will start in March with the construction of a temporary parking lot and garden. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Shad Khan's downtown Jacksonville development plans hit another setback
Jaguars owner Shad Khan's downtown development ambitions have encountered another setback, as the federal government said it will not consider relocating Metropolitan Park, where Khan wants to build a Four Seasons hotel, to a nearby waterfront property. Met Park is protected from private development under a grant the city received in the 1980s to purchase the land. More from the Florida Times-Union.
Carnival’s Mardi Gras debut in Port Canaveral delayed again as cruise line cancels more sailings
Carnival Cruise Line is the latest to further push any return to sailing, canceling all its itineraries through April, and delaying the debut of new ship Mardi Gras from Port Canaveral until May 29. The line also is halting Australian sailings until at least May 19 and announced its European summer plans for Carnival Legend from May-October are off the board. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Roller-coaster enthusiasts are looking up — and forward — as testing for Orlando’s next thrill rides ramps up at theme parks.
Roller-coaster enthusiasts are looking up — and forward — as testing for Orlando’s next thrill rides ramps up at theme parks. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the debuts of Ice Breaker along with Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa by months. Walt Disney World continues to work on coasters at Epcot (Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind) and Magic Kingdom (Tron Lightcycle Power Run).
» More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Many fancy hotels are just opening in South Florida
Dozens of new hotels are opening all across South Florida this year — ready for the day that pandemic-averse travelers decide to take those long-awaited vacations. The surge of new hotels is happening near the airports, along the beaches and in downtown areas. Most of the hotels fly the flags of major national brands such as Hilton, Marriott and Holiday Inn.
» Read more from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
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