Several hundred new cases of coronavirus have been reported around the state bringing the total in Florida to more than 27-thousand. Another 49 deaths were reported yesterday bringing the states total death toll up to 823.
Today, the Governor’s Re-Open Florida Task Force begins a week full of daily meetings.
Here are the members:
- Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, Lieutenant Governor of Florida
- Jimmy Patronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer
- Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General
- President Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate
- Speaker Jose Oliva, Speaker, Florida House of Representatives
- Senator Wilton Simpson, President-Designate, Florida Senate
- Representative Chris Sprowls, Speaker-Designate, Florida House of Representatives
- Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Commissioner of Education
- Jamal Sowell, President & CEO, Enterprise Florida, Inc.
- Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Mayor, Miami-Dade County
- Mayor Dale Holness, Mayor, Broward County
- Mayor David Kerner, Mayor, Palm Beach County
- John Couris, President & CEO, Tampa General Hospital
- Josh D’Amaro, President, Walt Disney World Resort
- Todd Jones, CEO, Publix Super Markets
- Syd Kitson, Chairman, Board of Governors for the State University System
- Paul Reilly, Chairman & CEO, Raymond James Financial
- Alex Sanchez, President & CEO, Florida Bankers Association
- Eric Silagy, President & CEO, Florida Power & Light Company
- John Sprouls, CEO, Universal Orlando Resort, Executive Vice President, Universal Parks & Resorts
- Patrick Sunderlin, Vice President, Global Supply Chain, Lockheed Martin Corporation
- Joe York, President, AT&T Florida and Caribbean
The State of Florida says six-percent of the unemployment claims it has received so far have been paid. That’s a slight improvement over the four-percent it announced last week, but nowhere near what’s needed by the hundreds of thousands of jobless Floridians.
After partially reopening beaches, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says people can’t lock themselves in their houses and wait for a vaccine against COVID-19.
Curry says a lot of the coverage of the beach reopening was “sensationalized” by national media. Beaches in Jacksonville are open for about eight hours a day. Sunbathing is banned and police are enforcing social distancing rules.
The announcement by Governor Ron DeSantis that distance learning will continue for the rest of the academic year means school districts across the state are scrambling to come up with new plans for graduation ceremonies. Some districts are looking at the possibility of virtual commencement ceremonies. Another option includes drive-thru graduation ceremonies. Some districts are hoping to hold traditional ceremonies later this summer if it is safe to do so.
Meanwhile, the Florida High School Athletic Association announced today its’ canceling spring sports events, including championship events for the rest of the school year. In a statement, the association says they are deeply saddened for our student-athletes.
Oil prices plunged below zero on Monday as demand for energy collapses amid the coronavirus pandemic and traders didn’t want to get stuck owning crude oil with nowhere to store it. A barrel of benchmark U.S. oil for May delivery fell more than 100%. West Texas Intermediate’s price per barrel settled at about negative $37. That means producers would pay traders to take the oil off their hands. While the foray into negative territory was largely due to technical reasons, prices for other oil contracts also plummeted as storage facilities for crude come close to hitting their limits.
The S&P 500 was down 0.9%, giving up some of its big gains following its first back-to-back weekly gain since February.
Other stocks were mixed midday after Wall Street trimmed its sharp losses from earlier in the morning. The S&P 500 started Monday with a drop of 1.6%, but it trimmed that down to 0.3% shortly before noon, Eastern time.
The Dow industrials were also down, but the Nasdaq composite was up slightly.
More buoyant gains for Netflix, Amazon and other stay-at-home winners in the coronavirus pandemic helped limit the market’s losses.
A REFERRAL PROCESS HAS BEEN CREATED TO PROVIDE PRIORITY ACCESS AND EXPEDITED REFERRALS FOR CHILDREN OF FIRST RESPONDERS AND HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS. — The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning, in coordination with local early learning coalitions, announced Monday that it has prioritized and increased access to child care services for first responders and health care professionals.
The department said in a news release that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 50 percent of Florida’s child care facilities are currently closed and many health care professionals, specially those working extended hours, need to rely on care for their children.
A referral process has been created to provide priority access and expedited referrals for children of first responders and health care professionals.
First responders and health care workers needing help finding a child care provider should contact their local early learning coalition for assistance.
To find a map of Early Learning Providers throughout the state, visit the Office of Early Learning website.
The services will be authorized for three months and it will be reevaluated for the continued need of child care prior to the end of services.
Democratic leaders in Florida are demanding Gov. Ron DeSantis manage the health crisis of the deadly coronavirus before reopening our state’s economy.
On Monday, the lawmakers called for national mass testing before President Donald Trump and DeSantis begin the reopening process.
In a conference call on Monday, State Sen. Lori Berman stated that there needs to be accessible antibody testing before loosening social distancing restrictions.
Gov. DeSantis said in his first meeting with the Re-Open Florida Task Force on Monday that antibody tests are coming.
Rep. Brian Mast said recently that people should be allowed to gauge their own risks.
The Palm Beach International Boat Show is scheduled for mid-May. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show will be launched virtually, according to a post on the Palm Beach International Boat Show Facebook page.
The virtual show is scheduled to launch on May 14 with nearly 500 premier exhibitors, event organizers said.
Shake Shack’s CEO says the company will return a $10 million loan the burger chain received from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — a federal program meant to aid small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic that’s already been depleted of funds.
In a statement posted on LinkedIn, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti said that the chain has decided to “immediately” return a $10 million loan to the Small Business Administration.
In his statement, Garutti clarified that Shake Shack qualified for the loan under the CARES Act — the coronavirus stimulus plan passed by Congress that established the PPP. Any restaurant with under 500 employees was eligible for a PPP loan, according to the CARES Act.
“Few, if any restaurants in America employ more than 500 people per location. That meant that Shake Shack – with roughly 45 employees per restaurant – could and should apply to protect as many of our employees’ jobs as possible,” Garutti wrote.
Garutti also said that Shake Shack officials had no idea that the program would run out of funds so quickly when they applied for the loan.
“There was no fine print, anywhere, that suggested: ‘Apply now, or we will run out of money by the time you finally get in line,'” Garutti wrote.
Garutti closed his statement by calling on Congress to adequately fund the PPP, assign each restaurant to a qualified local bank and eliminating forgiveness dates for PPP loans.
The CARES Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump in March in an attempt to jump-start the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to establishing the PPP, the bill also sent $1,200 stimulus check to millions of Americans.
However, the PPP was drained of funds just two weeks after it was established. Some banks report that the funds they received were depleted “within minutes.”
During a press briefing Sunday evening, President Donald Trump indicated that Republican and Democratic lawmakers were close to striking a deal to refund the PPP. He also defended Shake Shack and other large restaurant chains — like Ruth’s Christ Steakhouse — who took PPP loans, saying that restaurants who use a franchise model might need help paying employees.