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Friday's Afternoon Update

COVID vaccines: A money-maker for Florida doctors, pharmacies, grocery stores

Think your COVID vaccine was free? It wasn’t. Although you didn’t have to pay anything for the shots, the fees paid by insurance companies and the federal government put as much as $150 million in the pockets of Florida pharmacies, grocery stores and private medical practices. Few begrudge these companies the chance to make money for providing a life-saving service during an international health crisis. But a look at doses provided to Publix, Walgreens, CVS and private doctors shows that the COVID vaccine business provided a big source of revenue after a difficult year.  More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Younger patients causing Florida to have among the highest COVID hospital rates in country

Overall, the number of people being treated for COVID in Florida hospitals has ticked down over the last two weeks after a slight rise in the beginning of April. About 3,000 Floridians were hospitalized with COVID on Thursday, down about 10% from 3,345 patients on April 23. But Florida ranks third in the nation for confirmed recent COVID hospital admissions for adults on a per-capita basis, behind only Michigan and Kentucky. The admissions are concentrated in patients in the working-age bracket between 30 and 50 years old. More from the Miami Herald.

All Florida public universities expect to be at  full capacity this fall

lorida’s public university campuses are going to feel a lot more like, well, college this fall. Full classrooms, full stadiums, and yes, parties can be back in full swing. On Thursday, the State University System of Florida announced that all 12 public universities in the Sunshine State can return to pre-pandemic operations for academics, social activities, and sports. More from WTVT and the News Service of Florida.

Seminole sees slow uptick in visitors

Seminole County may not have the big-name attractions that draw visitors from around the world like neighboring Orange County. But it does rely on tourism tax dollars. And in recent months, Seminole has seen a gradual uptick in its tax revenue from hotel room nights and short-term rental stays as fears of the pandemic begin to ease and more people start traveling, county tourism officials said recently. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Ban on vaccine proof may send one company’s cruise ships out of Florida

If Florida won’t allow Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for passengers and crew, the company’s CEO says it will take its ships elsewhere. CEO Frank Del Rio made the threat during an earnings call Thursday, just days after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature that bans businesses, schools and government entities in Florida from asking anyone to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. More from the Miami Herald.

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Arts Business
MOCA Jacksonville's Project Atrium marks 10 years of oversized art projects

floridaMost of the Project Atrium shows were specifically commissioned to take advantage of the space. Artists have hung things from the ceiling, colored the walls with Sharpie pens, relived their internet browsing history and covered the walls with cracks inspired by a worn parking lot. There have been fabric installations, inflatable sculptures, works that play with light and dark and at least one performance artist.

» Read more from the Florida Times-Union.