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Monday's Daily Pulse

Florida eases restrictions for business licenses, but at what cost?

It just got a lot easier to work in many professions in Florida, from accountants to architects, barbers to boxing announcers, inspectors to interior designers, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Thursday that reduces or eliminates licensing requirements and fees for dozens of professions regulated by the state. State leaders say the move will reduce red tape and unemployment for workers. But some industry experts are skeptical. They say the new rules could lower quality and safety. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida breaks coronavirus record with 59,036 new cases reported in one week

Florida reported 10,059 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the statewide case total past 200,000. From Sunday to Sunday, Florida reported 59,036 new cases, the highest amounts in a one-week period since the pandemic began. 312 deaths were also reported and 318,851 tests were administered, the latter breaking another record for the state. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Florida waives work-search requirement for unemployment benefits through July

Out-of-work Floridians got an additional break this week after Gov. Ron DeSantis again waived requirements to prove they have searched for work to qualify for unemployment benefits. The waiver — first announced March 20 — has been extended several times. The most recent suspension would have ended on July 4. [Source: Miami Herald]

Disney College Program is indefinitely suspended

When Disney World reopens, Disney College Program participants won’t be among the thousands of employees returning to work. Disney is indefinitely suspending its internship program, saying it doesn’t know when it can reopen the Disney-owned apartments where the students had lived together. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Since the pandemic began, fewer Floridians are on the road. The numbers prove it

Travel was clearly a thing of the past for many Floridians in March. A year-over-year analysis showed a 47.5% decline in travel on Florida’s roads, both rural and urban. Traffic declined after businesses were ordered to close and as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased, said a traffic data study published on Wednesday. [Source: Miami Herald]


› St. Petersburg’s Pier District offers breezy, beautiful new place to play
When the city’s last Pier closed seven years ago, there was uncertainty about what would take its place. That long wait will be over on Monday as the new Pier District emerges from its chrysalis. Spread across 26 acres on St. Petersburg’s cherished public waterfront, the hope is that its amenities will satisfy the interests of visitors and beckon generations to come.

› PortMiami renegotiates terminal deals
Just last November, PortMiami was bustling with construction workers bringing to life five new cruise terminals and two cruise company headquarters. Future cruise business was all but guaranteed: Fiscal year 2020 was set to break the port’s 2019 record of 6.8 million passengers, up 22 percent from 2018.

› Jacksonville City Council faces $70 million vote on river deepening for cargo ships
The Jacksonville Port Authority will go to City Council this month for up to $70 million as the city’s share of deepening the St. Johns River, which would be the final scoop of money needed for bringing deeper water all the way to the Blount Island docks by 2023.

› Duke Energy proposes $1 billion solar expansion to double its capacity
Duke Energy Florida announced plans to double its solar energy capacity. The utility is asking for permission from the Florida Public Service Commission to build 750 megawatts of new solar energy installations through its “Clean Energy Connection Program.” It is currently in the process of completing 700 megawatts of solar capacity from a plan announced in 2017.

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› Legal woes mount for owner of popular florida panhandle tourist restaurant under tax investigation
The owner of a landmark seafood restaurant in the Florida Panhandle who is the target of a federal tax fraud investigation is facing new felony drunken driving charges and what may become a challenging effort to renew his liquor license later this summer.

› South Florida to Remain within World’s Top Private Aviation Hubs Post COVID-19
Private aviation has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. Although not to the extent of commercial flight, the executive market has registered an increased drop in bookings and operations throughout the pandemic. The need to maximize resources and diversify its services has been a recent trend and, in many cases, it has been that diversification (repatriation and humanitarian flights, for instance), that has kept the market running.

› Fireworks Sales Skyrocket After Florida Legalizes Use For The Fourth. And The Pandemic Means More Business Too.
A year ago, it was illegal to set off many types of fireworks Florida. But this year is different, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law that allows fireworks of any kind to be used on July 4, December 31 and January 1. Not just the sparklers, noisemakers and the like Floridians have been restricted to for years, but real fireworks that explode or shoot into the sky.

› Florida Power & Light Company Named Among Most Trusted Brands Nationwide in 2020
Florida Power & Light Company was named among the 2020 Most Trusted Brands, according to a study conducted by Escalent, a human behavior and analytics firm. The study indicated FPL is the most trusted electric provider in Florida and ranked fourth among its electric utility peers nationwide.