International tourism is returning in November. How will it affect Florida?
As Florida prepares for the return of international visitors in November, tourism advocates welcome the influx of global travelers and the revenue they bring, but one expert warns travelers may be reluctant to return and could bring health concerns along with their wallets. Under the federal guidelines announced Monday, international visitors will have to provide proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of boarding flights to the U.S. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida administrator tapped to run state’s $253 billion investment portfolio
Lamar Taylor, chief operating and financial officer of the State Board of Administration, was named Tuesday as interim replacement for retiring Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer Ash Williams. Gov. Ron DeSantis and members of the State Board of Administration — Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis — supported Williams’ suggestion of Taylor to become interim head of the agency, which invests money in the Florida Retirement System, along with 25 other funds, and manages the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Opinion: Florida needs infrastructure that is built to last
While Congress considers much-needed investments in roads, sewers and other critical infrastructure, it must consider a crucial component — resiliency. In Florida, residents are facing risks from intensifying hurricanes, stronger heat waves and rising seas inundating Miami and other communities. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
State goes to appeals court in school board mask fight
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has asked an appeals court to block challenges filed by five school boards against a Department of Health rule aimed at preventing students from being forced to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Department of Health attorneys went to the 1st District Court of Appeal on Monday after an administrative law judge refused to dismiss the challenges filed by the school boards in Broward, Alachua, Orange, Miami-Dade and Leon counties and Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Red tide resurgence in Florida Panhandle
It’s been three years since Panhandle beaches dealt with red tide, but it’s back again. The harmful algae bloom, named Karenia brevis, releases a toxin that can irritate respiratory systems. The common side effects include itchy skin, a scratchy throat, coughing and a burning sensation to your eyes nose, and throat. During major blooms, the water will turn a brownish-red color and will kill marine life. [Source: WMBB]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Disney pays $46 million for 60 acres that will become Lake Nona campus [Orlando Sentinel]
A company tied to Walt Disney World is paying more than $46 million for the future site of its office campus in Lake Nona, according to a report in GrowthSpotter. The entertainment and media conglomerate secured a 60-acre development site directly south of the Central Florida GreeneWay and West of Lake Nona Boulevard, next to Lake Nona’s Medical City, records show.
› Scaled-back FP&L rate hike still drawing opposition [The Center Square]
Florida Power & Light Company’s (FP&L) proposed four-year $1.53 billion rate hike is justified by the “superior performance” it delivers, the Sunshine State’s largest utility told state regulators Monday. But a bevy of opposition groups say otherwise. Representatives of Floridians Against Increased Rates (FAIR), the League of United Latin American Citizens of Florida, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida and Florida Rising say under the deal, residential and small business customers “will be subsidizing the rates of large commercial and industrial customers.”
› Florida seeks public input on how to manage new Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve [Pew Trusts]
Florida created the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve last year to conserve more than 700 square miles of coastal habitat north of Tampa and give the public a healthy outdoor space for both recreation and tourism businesses. Now the Sunshine State is giving the public a chance to weigh in on the best ways to manage the area.
› White Claw’s makers are testing canned tequila cocktails in Tampa [Tampa Bay Times]
Maybe Tom Brady was onto something when he blamed his Super Bowl victory parade jubilance on avocado tequila. Maybe Tampa really is a tequila kind of town. The company behind blockbuster canned cocktail brand White Claw thinks so.
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› Major development lands international restaurant chain as tenant [Business Observer]
An international restaurant chain plans to open an eatery in its third U.S. city early next year, this one in Tampa. Wagamama, a British chain that specializes Asian-inspired cuisine, will open in the Water Street district at the residential development located at 1050 Water Street. The chain’s other locations in the U.S. are in Boston and New York. The company has 200 locations worldwide.
› Would you pay more sales tax to get a free heart test? Broward is considering it. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Broward voters might get to choose if they want to pay more money on most everything they buy in exchange for a free medical test that can detect heart disease. County Commissioner Mark Bogen said he wants voters to decide whether they are willing to ante up money through a new half-penny sales tax to pay for the cardiac screenings. Food and gas could be exempt from the new tax.
› Florida pension leader says state is on track to divest Unilever [Reuters]
Florida's top pension investment officer said on Tuesday he expects the state will divest Unilever PLC (ULVR.L) in October after the company's Ben & Jerry's brand halted sales in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Ash Williams, chief investment officer of the Florida State Board of Administration, which oversees pension assets, said at a webcast state hearing that "we've not seen any meaningful response from Unilever" after discussions with the company.
› Florida Orchestra returns to full concerts in Tampa Bay [Tampa Bay Times]
The Florida Orchestra kicks off its 2021-22 season Sept. 24-26, returning to a full symphony after performing with a fraction of musicians last season. Concerts will also return to traditional lengths, with audiences at full capacity. More venues also return: Performances will take place at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.