Tuesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
As PPP loan program ends, Florida's small businesses' haul tops $51 billion
Since opening in the spring of 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program has shepherded about $800 billion in largely forgivable relief loans to 8.5 million small businesses and nonprofits. The program officially closed May 31. And while the totals are incomplete as banks process the final loans, it’s clear that the aid to Florida’s economy was immense. Over 14 months, banks approved at least $51.2 billion in loans to more than 1 million Sunshine State businesses, according to data compiled by the Small Business Administration through June 1. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Miami’s LAB Ventures receives investment from well-known local public company
The venture wing associated with Miami’s oldest co-working space just got a boost. LAB Ventures, the Miami-based startup “studio” launched out of The LAB Miami in Wynwood, has received an undisclosed investment from New Valley Ventures, the investment fund from publicly traded Vector Group Ltd. that focuses on opportunities in the property technology space. These so-called PropTech startups and companies focus on innovations helping transform the real estate and construction industries. More from the Miami Herald.
Pinellas tourism numbers show travelers are coming back
Data from St. Pete-Clearwater International and April's bed tax collections show the tourism industry in Pinellas County is bouncing back after last year's devastation. The number of passengers traveling through St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport continues to increase compared with last year but still lags behind 2019. The airport reports that passenger traffic in May was 104% higher than it was in May 2020. More from the Business Observer.
Norwegian threatens to defy DeSantis with fully vaccinated cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced Monday that it plans to resume cruising from Miami in August with fully vaccinated passengers, a plan that threatens to defy orders of Gov. Ron DeSantis and creates yet more uncertainty about one of South Florida’s most important tourist draws. The cruise line’s announcement offered no indication that DeSantis has agreed to exempt cruise lines from his edict banning businesses from requiring vaccines, nor did it suggest that any sort of compromise had been reached between Norwegian and the governor. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Winter Park weighs becoming landlord of Fairbanks businesses before deciding on $3 million property deal
Before Winter Park commissioners decide whether to pay $3 million for an acre of land on West Fairbanks Avenue, they want to know what it would mean to be a landlord of popular businesses such as Austin’s Coffee and Vines & Forks restaurant. The leases for several businesses have various expiration dates, with the earliest ending in August and the latest not up for possible renewal until 2025. Commissioners are leaning toward making a deal with current owner Fairbanks Village LLC, but asked city staff on Monday to explore early termination options for the leases. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Out of the Box
Hurricane Facts: Does El Niño make snakes bite more?
Turns out the Pacific climate current phenomenon not only has an effect on the Atlantic hurricane season, but there’s also evidence to support El Niño’s effect on animal behavior, such as snakes. An international team of researchers from Taiwan, Japan and Costa Rica found that snake bites were much more common during hot and cold phases of El Niño, according to a report published in Science Advances.
» More from the Orlando Sentinel.
St. Petersburg woman turned 1962 Airstream into a wine party business
An increased interest from cautious clients looking to entertain outdoors in socially distant settings has led to a boom in mobile bar businesses like Melody Maria's Wine on Wheels. From small, intimate gatherings to large, 100-plus people events, Maria says she’s fielded requests for everything from backyard barbecues to boozy brunches and lavish garden engagement parties.
» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.
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