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Tuesday's Afternoon Update

Florida’s COVID surge is not deterring real estate investors

Florida’s COVID case count is finally down after a summer surge that dwarfed previous outbreaks, causing close to 10,000 deaths in the state in August alone. And the death toll is not yet over, as deaths tend to lag case count by several weeks. The summer surge — fueled by the highly infectious delta variant — only intensified the same factors that had made Florida attractive to outsiders throughout the pandemic. The Sunshine State offers both the ability to do more outdoors, due to its weather, and the laissez-faire attitude of its policymakers, which have eschewed restrictions since last summer. More from the Commercial Observer.

Cruises are back, but may not see pre-pandemic passenger numbers until 2023

The cruise industry may not return to pre-pandemic passenger numbers until 2023, according to an industry consultant speaking at Seatrade — the world’s largest business-to-business cruise conference taking place in Miami Beach this week. “It’s all very encouraging but I don’t really see until next year that we’ll get significant increases [in passengers],” said David Selby, the owner of Travelyields Ltd., a consulting firm that specializes in cruises, speaking at the conference via video call from the UK. More from the Miami Herald.

Venezuelans live mostly in Florida and they top Hispanic population growth

From 2010 to 2019, the Venezuelan population in the U.S. increased 126 percent to 540,000, more by far than people with roots in any other nation. The top three nations are Latin American, but Guatemala is a distant No. 2 at 49 percent growth followed by No. 3 Honduras at 47 percent. Earlier surveys showed that about half of Venezuelans in the U.S. live in Florida. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

UCF to use national award to elevate women-owned businesses

Through UCF’s collaboration with the Florida High Tech Corridor, the university will be implementing an initiative funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration to help support women entrepreneurship. The Corridor was selected as one of eight winners for the Administration’s first Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Catalyst Competition, which recognizes model partnerships addressing the gaps for underrepresented entrepreneurs nationwide. More from UCF News.

Jacksonville Icemen ownership seek $10.6 million project permit

Ownership of the former Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex applied to the city for a permit to make exterior and interior renovations at a cost of $10.6 million to what is now Community First Igloo. Bluewater Builders Inc. of Coral Springs is the contractor for the project, which is at 3605 Philips Highway. The city issued a permit July 23 for $400,000 in initial demolition and interior structural work toward redeveloping the center for the Jacksonville Icemen, the city’s professional hockey team. More from the Jacksonville Daily Record.

Florida History
Bolita, Tampa’s illegal lottery, was deadly and lucrative

 With an 80-1 payoff, the numbers game known as bolita could be lucrative. But due to long odds, it was more lucrative to operate, with millions of dollars wagered annually in Tampa at its peak in the mid-20th century. That brought bloodshed as crime syndicates battled for control. Late historian Tony Pizzo estimated at least 40 bolita-related killings in Tampa during the first half of the 20th century. Numerous others were injured.

» More from the Tampa Bay Times.


Business Profile
Pop Goes the Waffle

floridaIt’s been a busy couple of years for Sara Fludd. Since first launching her company in 2017, the CEO and founder of Pop Goes the Waffle has become one of the most recognized local food entrepreneurs in the Tampa Bay area. Her coveted liege waffles, which Fludd sells from inside her signature bright blue truck as well as through wholesale and online markets, are a common sight at festivals, events and coffee shops across town.

» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.