Florida’s COVID-19 infection rate dips to low level not seen since mid-June

For the first time in over two months, the daily rate of positive COVID-19 test results for new cases in Florida dipped below 5% on Saturday — a sign of reduced spread of the coronavirus. The state Department of Health reported a 4.89% positivity rate for results processed in the past day, which is for new infections only and doesn’t count people who previously tested positive. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and WTSP.

Florida hemp farmers face challenge insuring crops amid hurricane season

Hemp. It’s related to marijuana, but you don’t smoke it, you make things with it. After being banned for more than 80 years, it’s once again legal to grow it. However, in Florida, hemp farmers are facing a challenge insuring their crop just as hurricane season heats up. From paper straws to perfumes, even designer dresses, hemp is in line to become the key ingredient — a durable fiber that thrives on sunshine, the kind Florida has in abundance, making the state nearly perfect for growing. [Source: Bay News 9]

Florida’s Pam Bondi, Jeanette Nuñez to address Republican National Convention

Two of Florida’s most prominent Republican women will address the party faithful and the country at this week’s national convention. Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez and former Attorney General Pam Bondi are scheduled to speak Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention, the second day of the four-night confab. Meanwhile, some of the biggest names in Florida politics don’t have any announced role at the convention, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Tegus, green iguanas may soon be added to Florida’s prohibited list

They’re slithery and sly, cunning and adaptable, but they just plain don’t belong here. Several of Florida’s most damaging non-native species are being added to a list of prohibited species after a recent Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting that was streamed from Tallahassee. “Florida’s subtropical climate creates a unique environment for introduction and successful establishment of non-native fish and wildlife,” said FWC biologist Kristen Sommers. [Source: Palm Beach Post]

South Florida’s beaches still set to open for Labor Day as hotels lower their prices

Unlike past holidays during this pandemic, the upcoming Labor Day weekend will offer South Floridians more choices for outings. The latest state figures show COVID-19 has eased its grip on Florida. As a result, local governments are leaning toward leaving South Florida’s beaches open, and hotels are offering deals for a pandemic staycation. Their goal is offering these amenities with the hope the public follows the rules on wearing masks and social distancing. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Sarasota-Manatee braces for more time without international visitors [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Normally, Shorewalk Vacation Villas in Bradenton gets a good number of French visitors during the summer and an influx of guests from the United Kingdom and Germany starting in October. But this year is markedly different. The business had only a few international visitors this summer, and travel restrictions between the U.S., European countries and Canada mean that trips keep getting pushed back.

› Everything else has gone virtual, so why not? Art Basel announces fall shows [Miami Herald]
Like nearly everything else, the art world has gone virtual. Come fall, Art Basel will extend the online view rooms it launched in June with two new online editions featuring 100 galleries each. Like its live fairs, the online editions open to galleries that have been accepted to an Art Basel fair from 2018 onward. Blue-ribbon selection committees will make the final selection.

› Visit Orlando CEO George Aguel stepping down amid tourism crisis [Orlando Sentinel]
The top executive at Orlando’s publicly subsidized tourism advertising agency is stepping down as the region confronts the worst tourism crisis it has ever faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Aguel’s contract expires in early 2021. The former Disney executive, who was paid more than $630,000 last year, has led Visit Orlando since 2013.

› Space Florida announces support of Aerion Supersonic’s new HQ at Orlando Melbourne International Airport [Space Coast Daily]
Aerion Supersonic is planning to produce the AS2 supersonic business jet, the world’s first, at the manufacturing plant to be located at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on more than 60 acres of vacant airport property located at the northwest corner of MLB. According to Space Florida, construction is expected to begin on Aerion Park before the end of 2020.

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