FAC News Clips - June 2, 2020 -

COVID-19 Arrival Slashes Tourism Numbers

TALLAHASSEE --- Tourism in Florida fell 10.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020 from the same period a year earlier, and the estimate may be optimistic. The final month of the quarter, March, was impacted heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic, which essentially shut down the hospitality industry statewide. A report posted online by Visit Florida, the state’s tourism-marketing arm, said “data previously used to estimate Florida visitation may not paint the full picture during COVID-19.”

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Even as Floridians begin getting out, GPS data reveals we’re still staying close to home

The virus that shut down much of the world has achieved an almost impossible task: Reducing Florida traffic. The evidence comes from GPS data that shows the total number of miles people travel. It reveals that people in South Forida are driving more than they did at the low point in early April but most are still staying close to home. The information is collected by a company called Street Light Data, which uses smartphone and vehicle-navigation devices to measure movement.


Florida governor’s order on evictions, foreclosures extended to July 1

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is extending until July 1 an executive order aimed at preventing foreclosures and evictions as people struggle financially during the coronavirus pandemic. The executive order, which takes legal steps to try to prevent foreclosures and evictions, was issued April 2 and was then extended through June 2. On Monday evening, DeSantis again extended the order until 12:01 a.m. July 1.

Route Fifty

Protests Could Lead to Surge of Coronavirus Cases, Officials Say

As thousands of Americans took to the streets over the weekend to protest the death of George Floyd in police custody, public health experts and elected officials worried that the multiple mass gatherings could lead to a surge of coronavirus cases at the moment the country is poised to begin reopening. “There’s going to be a lot of issues coming out of what’s happened in the last week, but one of them is going to be that chains of transmission will have become lit from these gatherings,” former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday on Face the Nation.


National coronavirus updates: First human trial of potential antibody treatment begins

Eli Lilly and Company said Monday it has started the first human trial of an antibody therapy designed to treat COVID-19. The first phase of the trial will test whether the therapy is safe and well-tolerated; those results are expected in late June. The first COVID-19 patients being treated with the therapy are hospitalized at New York University's Grossman School of Medicine in New York, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and Emory University in Atlanta, the company told CNN.


Hillsborough County offers free resource for business owners affected by pandemic

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Doublemint Sitting LLC. saw a record-breaking month for their babysitting business, and then the pandemic hit and brought business to a standstill. “Everything came to a halt. We went from doing over 500 bookings a week to doing 50 bookings a week,” said Doublemint co-owner Synthia Fairman. Fairman said they immediately contacted the Hillsborough ECC, a free resource many small business owners may not know about. The Hillsborough Entrepreneur Collaborative Center provides free resources, workshops and training for businesses.


Leon County tax collector offices reopen with safety protocols

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tax collectors offices across Leon County are re-opening with new safety protocols in place. Customers and employees are required to wear face masks and maintain six feet social distancing. At the office on South Monroe Street, customers say just getting into the building proves to be its own challenge. Some customers said they arrived to find lines wrapped around the building.

Pensacola News Journal

Santa Rosa County has collected $0 in impact fees since ordinance went into effect May 4

Builders in Santa Rosa County scrambled to apply for building permits before an educational impact fee ordinance went into effect May 4, which has led to the county collecting $0 in impact fees in the past month.  The fee is intended to be collected at the issuance of residential building permits. It charges builders $5,000 for single-family houses, $4,000 for mobile homes and $2,750 for multi-family units — a fee that builders say will be passed on to the home buyer.

Orlando Sentinel

Floridians ‘tax holiday’ on most hurricane-prep supplies continues through June 4

Shoppers in Florida can avoid paying sales taxes through Thursday while putting together disaster-preparation stockpiles for the 2020 hurricane season. In addition to helping residents buy everything from coolers to generators, Florida Retail Federation President and CEO Scott Shalley said he hopes the seven-day tax “holiday” that began May 29 can provide a boost for businesses suffering from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. “I think you’re going to see, again, additional incentives from the retailers to encourage sales for disaster preparation,” Shalley said.

Panama City News Herald

Rebuilding America: State hopes welcoming in sports world serves as ‘great PR for Florida’

In order to stage a pay-per-view card in Jacksonville, UFC put together a document on health and safety protocols. It was 25 pages long. About the same time, Major League Baseball was dipping its toe into the reopening of the sports world, although in this case, it’s more of an opening, since the 2020 season never got off the ground before the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports. MLB’s document? It was a cool 67 pages. And it was just a draft.


FEMA head urges hurricane prep in midst of coronavirus pandemic

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Monday marks the official start of the 2020 hurricane season. But this year is different, with communities preparing for a potential hit during a global pandemic. Never in our history have we had to deal with both disasters at the same time. But the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, D.C. is planning for both and says staff is ready to respond. “We pride ourselves at FEMA at being ready every day,” FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor said. “We’ve been preparing and responding to COVID-19 and preparing for the hurricane season together.”