How COVID-19 affected Florida’s economy
Arriving on the heels of a historic period of growth, COVID-19 brought about a decline in gross domestic product in every state in the country. However, no two state economies are alike, and partially as a result, some states were hit far harder than others. Florida's economy contracted by 2.9% in 2020. Few state economies rely more heavily on tourism than Florida's, and last year, the state's arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services sector reported a 22.2% decline in output -- resulting in a 1.3 percentage point net decline in the state's overall GDP. More from the Center Square.
Depression forecast to form in Gulf soon, bring heavy rain to Florida Panhandle this week
After a punishing hurricane season last year, the Gulf Coast could be in for even more drenching rain later this week. The National Hurricane Center is tracking a disturbance near the Bay of Campeche off the coast of Mexico that is forecast to head toward Louisiana, Mississippi and Northwest Florida later this week — possibly as a tropical or subtropical depression — and bring upwards of 7 inches of rain. More from the Miami Herald.
More people have died around Florida Power & Light’s lines than any other Florida utility
Over a 13-year period through 2020, Florida Power & Light reported 118 deaths from people coming into contact with its power lines or other equipment, records show. That’s more than double all the other electric companies in Florida combined. Hundreds more suffered life-altering injuries. The company’s service area stretches from South Florida into Manatee County and parts of Central Florida. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Despite big gaps, Miami tourism passes pre-covid levels
Miami-Dade’s tourism industry is surpassing many comparable 2019 statistics despite a glaring lack of international, convention and cruise travel. At the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s State of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry’s May breakfast, experts predicted summer hotel occupancy highs would approach summer 2019 lows. More from Miami Today.
Coyotes are spreading in Florida, even into urban areas and the Keys
Coyotes are just about everywhere in Florida, and these animals are on the move, adapting to the ever-changing landscapes. We’ve gotten reports out of Southwest Miami-Dade, Hollywood, Dania Beach and Sunrise recently. Officials say the coyotes are even chasing the feral cat population as far south as Key Largo, showing just how adaptable they are. “How did the coyotes get there?” said Angeline Barker, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “They either used the bridges and roadways or they swam, and it turns out, coyotes are fairly strong swimmers.” More from WPLG and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
UFC 261 economic impact in Jacksonville estimated above $17 million
The punches and the kicks inside the octagon ended seven weeks ago. But Jacksonville's impact from UFC 261 isn't finished. The mixed martial arts card at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 24 packed a financial punch in Jacksonville, including an estimated direct economic impact of $9 million and a total economic output of $17.6 million, as calculated in a report released by UFC in conjunction with Nevada-based research firm Applied Analysis.
» More from the Florida Times-Union.
Out of the Box
Central Florida Girl Scouts have about 214,000 boxes of cookies left over
Months after when Girl Scouts usually end their annual cookie fundraiser, Central Florida scouts have about 214,000 boxes of cookies remaining because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Girl Scouts of Citrus — serving Orange, Seminole, Lake, Osceola, Volusia and Brevard counties —will keep selling cookies through the start of August, with the option to purchase them for donation to other organizations, according to chief strategy officer Susan Ennis.
» Read more from the Orlando Sentinel.