Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida unemployment below 19,000, lowest since pandemic began
Florida drew an estimated 18,982 first-time unemployment claims last week. The estimate from the U.S. Department of Labor for the week ending Feb. 13 represented the lowest total for a single week since the coronavirus pandemic began nearly a year ago. The federal agency initially estimated Florida received 17,621 new jobless applications during the week that ended Feb. 6. However, the agency revised that total to 21,710 in the numbers released Thursday. [Source: Click Orlando]
Check out the top news-to-know with Florida Trend's brand new, headline-focused video newsbrief, hosted by digital content specialist Aimée Alexander.
Your guide to the Florida-Georgia Supreme Court water case
Supreme Court justices will hear Florida’s water rights case against Georgia on Monday, an hour-long event that could mark the beginning of the end of an expensive lawsuit that’s stretched over eight years. The oral arguments, which will unfold online due to the pandemic, mark the second time justices have examined the case in four years. [Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
DeSantis tells Floridians to ‘hang in there’ as shipment of Moderna coronavirus vaccines still hasn’t arrived
Florida still hasn’t received its shipment for this week of 200,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which means some seniors scheduled to receive shots this week will have to wait. “Normally those Moderna would be done today,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis at a news briefing in Pinellas Park Thursday. “But because the storms we are seeing in the rest of the county, it’s basically sitting in the FedEx warehouse and I don’t think they can even get into it because of everything.” [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
MLB spring training begins in Florida – a return to ‘normalcy’ without the ‘normal’
As much of the snow-bound nation shivers through a record deep freeze, pitchers and catchers began reporting Wednesday to Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training sites in Florida and Arizona, an annual migration that portends the beginning of the end of winter has, at last, arrived. Many also hope opening the training camps for the “boys of summer” instills a sense of normalcy, an optimism that the beginning of the end COVID-19 pandemic will be in sight when the 162-game season ends in fall. Spring training, however, will be anything but normal in the Sunshine State this year. [Source: The Center Square]
Florida celebrates sea level rise planning tool after years ‘behind the curve’
One year after the Florida Legislature passed a bill considered its first direct confrontation of climate change in years, the state is moving closer to making the policy’s promises a reality. The Department of Environmental Protection is crafting a rule that will lay out a standard for considering sea level rise before starting construction on some publicly funded projects along the coast. It is supposed to take effect July 1, and agency officials said this week they aim to hone a draft version by April 1. [Source: Tampa Bay Tiimes]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Outback owner grows virtual restaurants as it fights pandemic sales slump
Outback-owner Bloomin’ Brands says carryout and delivery orders made up 37 percent of sales across its portfolio in its last quarter, leading the company to expand delivery-only restaurant Tender Shack nationwide. CEO David Deno announced both the company’s fourth quarter results and the decision to expand Tender Shack on Thursday. The chicken-focused virtual restaurant is available only on delivery app DoorDash and operates out of the kitchens of Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
› Get a look at the new Florida-bound cruise ship MSC Seashore
MSC Cruises revealed renderings of its cruise ship MSC Seashore set to debut in August 2021 in the Mediterranean and then make its home in Miami beginning in November. A bigger sister ship to MSC Seaside, which debuted in 2017, the line touts its design as one made for warm-weather climates. The new ship, though, is bringing some changes along with its extended size.
› Internet sales tax collection bill clears Senate tax committee
An effort to require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians advanced Thursday in the Senate as economists project the move could bring in more than $1 billion a year in revenue. But as the Senate Finance and Tax Committee voted to support the proposal (SB 50), sponsor Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, said efforts are underway to balance the increased tax collections against other funding sources to make the change “revenue-neutral.”
› Super Bowl 55 weekend filled Hillsborough hotels to 92 percent capacity
Super Bowl 55 weekend brought super-sized crowds to Hillsborough County hotels, Visit Tampa Bay announced Thursday. Hotel occupancy reached 92.1 percent — 93.8 percent on Saturday, Feb. 6, and 90.4 percent on Super Bowl Sunday — for the weekend of Super Bowl 55, according to industry tracker Smith Travel Research, STR Inc.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
In case you missed it: