October 23, 2021

Thursday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 9/16/2021

Slow business travel to deliver $5.3 billion hit to Florida tourism

Florida’s hospitality industry expects to see a $5.3-billion loss in business travel this year, according to a Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association projection released Tuesday. The group estimates business trips to Florida will be down 61% this year compared to 2019 before the pandemic crippled the state’s economy. But the projections are better than the 66% drop in business travel nationwide, according to a new report by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. [Source: Florida Politics]

Legislators remain silent about repairing Florida’s tarnished redistricting process

When Florida legislators launch the once-a-decade redrawing of state legislative and congressional district boundaries next week, they will face new obstacles that include a compressed schedule because of a delay in the census process and restoring public trust after a court’s conclusion that the last process was secretly and illegally “hijacked” by Republican political operatives 10 years ago. [Source: Miami Herald]

Federal judge refuses to block DeSantis mask order

A federal judge Wednesday rejected a request by parents of disabled children to block Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to prevent school districts from requiring students to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal Judge K. Michael Moore issued a 34-page ruling that denied a request for a preliminary injunction against an executive order that DeSantis issued July 30. The executive order led to the Florida Department of Health issuing a rule that required districts to allow parents to opt out of any student mask mandates. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Tropical storms Odette and Peter could develop; forecasters watch for new tropical wave

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is running well ahead of average pace and showing no signs of slowing. Forecasters are monitoring three areas for potential storm development, two of which are expected to become tropical depressions this week and could potentially form into Tropical Storm Odette and Tropical Storm Peter. An absence of significant storm-shredding wind shear and a lack of dry air are creating favorable conditions for storm development. Warm water temperatures, at 80 degrees or above, are also conducive at this time, experts said. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

'It's looking very promising': Mote expands red tide research

Clams and shrimp have found new homes at Mote Marine's Aquaculture Research Park. In large tanks, they are the test subjects for the lab's latest red tide research. The experiment aims to use technology to eliminate excess nutrients while preserving the surrounding environment. Water goes through the entire system, located on a large trailer, and is virtually cleaned of excess nutrients within minutes. Researchers with the initiative are now testing patented technology from Prescott Clean Water called Ozonix, first used in oil and gas fields to treat contaminated fracking water. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]


› For high-flying founder of fintech firm Fast, Tampa’s a ‘great place to live’
Most CEOs don’t make their grand public debut in a new city by doing donuts in a speeding truck, then crawling out from the window to applause and wild screams. Even for Domm Holland, the wakeboarding, skydiving founder of online payment services startup Fast, that was a new one.

› Broward will reward vaccinated county workers and subject the unvaccinated to charges and testing
Broward County’s mayor announced Wednesday that the county will give bonuses to vaccinated employees and charge unvaccinated ones as part of a tactic to boost vaccination rates while navigating a state mandate that bars local governments from requiring COVID-19 vaccines. Mayor Steve Geller said during a news conference Wednesday that all fully vaccinated employees will receive a one-time $500 bonus, and that all unvaccinated employees will see a $20 surcharge on their biweekly paycheck and will be required to get a weekly COVID-19 test.

› Disney World looking to hire hundreds at job fair on Monday
Walt Disney World is hosting a job fair next week to hire hundreds of people across custodial, culinary, housekeeping and food and beverage jobs, with several positions eligible for bonuses. The job fair on Monday, Sept. 20, at the Coronado Springs Resort is part of Disney’s efforts to hire 700 to 1,100 employees weekly by the end of the year, according to the company.

› Two new executives added at the Lakeland cannabis tracking company
Metrc added two new executives last week in yet another sign the Lakeland-based cannabis tracking company is growing fast. Cannabis regulators from Colorado to Massachusetts have relied on Metrc, LLC to track and trace cannabis from seed to point of sale since 2012, when Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use.

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