Florida COVID cases, hospitalizations remain at ‘high’ risk level
The state reported 10,542 daily cases during the seven-day period from June 18-24. Florida hospitals reported 3,322 confirmed COVID-19 patients as of Friday. Both numbers are essentially unchanged from the week before. Infections and hospitalizations still are high enough to classify 93% of Floridians as living in areas of high-risk, according to federal data released Thursday. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
High demand for industrial warehouse space in Polk County remains strong
Ralston says the demand for that space — with less than 5% vacancy — should remain strong, thanks to the county’s location between the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets, as well as Polk’s proximity to I-4 and overall growth. Polk’s population, for example, increased 20% from 2010 to 2020, and the research firm Esri forecasts the 725,046 population will grow 15% faster than Florida’s overall growth over the next five years. [Source: Florida Trend]
‘This is not a survivable market.’ Insurance crisis hits FL
In 2020 and 2021, major storms hit Louisiana and Texas, and the Florida-based property insurer lost tens of millions of dollars. Now the impact of those storms is being felt in Florida. On June 29, FedNat will cancel 68,200 homeowners’ policies in the state. [Source: E&E News]
Disney offers ‘travel benefit’ for employees seeking an abortion
After the Supreme Court announced its ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional protections for abortion, a company spokesperson said Disney will help employees obtain whatever medical care they seek. The company said employees who are “unable to access care in one location” will have “affordable coverage for receiving similar levels of care in another location.” That includes “pregnancy-related decisions.” [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Black farmers vie for marijuana license
While details on many of the applications are heavily redacted, the information made available to the public reveals Black farmers and deep-pocketed financial backers attempting to establish a foothold in Florida’s medical-marijuana industry, where licenses regularly fetch upwards of $50 million. [Source: News Service of Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› JetBlue or Frontier? Which partner will Broward County’s Spirit Airlines choose? [Miami Herald]
The bidding war for Spirit Airlines that has rocked the airline industry is set to come to an end this week, when the South Florida airline’s shareholders vote Thursday to either go forward with a planned company merger with Frontier Airlines or accept a more lucrative offer to be acquired by JetBlue Airways.
› Canceled flights, expensive tickets await travelers this summer. Will they stay home instead? [Palm Beach Post]
To celebrate the Fourth of July, Donna C. of Wellington plans to travel with her family to Long Island. But you won’t catch them on a plane to Islip. “We’re driving. We’re going to take our time,” she said, declining to give her last name. “This is ridiculous. People are getting canceled left and right.”
› Ken Griffin makes Wall Street South in Miami a reality [Washington Post]
Ken Griffin is turning Wall Street South into a reality. After years of speculation, the billionaire supporter of Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida is moving his hedge fund and market-making businesses to Miami from Chicago, cementing the area’s status as an attractive destination for finance and investment jobs.
› Orlando businesses feeling the impact of inflation [Spectrum News]
The gas pump isn’t the only place we’re seeing high prices in our community. At the Orlando Farmers Market, vendors say the price of food is forcing them to raise prices.
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› Despite challenges, Equality Florida's Nadine Smith remains optimistic about issues facing the LGBTQ community [Bay News 9]
Equality Florida executive director Nadine Smith says that while the current political climate for the LGBTQ community in Florida is daunting, the movement has faced similar challenges in the past. “Even though it’s hard and it’s going to get very bad, I try to remember that we’ve been through some pretty ugly periods and on the other side of it, not only have we survived it and gotten stronger, but often it’s what catapults us going forward,” she says.
› Central Florida offering free testing for National HIV Testing Day [WESH]
In honor of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, the Florida Department of Health is hosting multiple free testing events throughout Central Florida.
› Legislators score high on Chamber of Commerce report [Citrus County Chronicle]
The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s report, which graded all 160 legislators in the Florida House and Senate, focused on quantifying the efforts they made in creating jobs in the private sector, protecting local business and other aspects of economic growth. The average senator and representative scores were 78 percent and 65 percent, respectively.