Florida has recovered more than 950,000 jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy last spring with mandatory business shutdowns that inflicted sudden but enduring damage on the Sunshine State’s $90 billion tourist/hospitality industry.

According to Florida Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish, the state has come a long way since the mass furloughs and layoffs of April 2020, which temporarily cost as many as 1.3 million Floridians their jobs.

“We still have a few more (jobs to gain) to go get back to the peak of 9 million non-farm jobs” in the state, Parrish said in a recently-posted August edition of the Chamber’s Florida By the Numbers video presentation.

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Citing the metrics in the Chamber’s Florida Scorecard, Parrish said about 315,800 jobs that existed before the pandemic have not, thus far, been “recovered,” even though the number of jobs available in the state now exceeds job openings prior to March 2020.

“Of the 315,800 jobs we are still trying to recover,” Parrish said, 63% – or about 194,000 jobs – are in the economy’s leisure and hospitality sector. The state has not recovered 30,000 education and health service jobs or 27,000 jobs in the trade and transportation sector, according to the Chamber.

Since January, Florida businesses have restored 264,300 jobs of the 950,000 that have been recovered since April 2020. That pace is accelerating, especially in the leisure/hospitality sector, Parrish said.

“In the last two months, there has been a recovery of nearly 140,000 jobs,” he said.

Parrish said despite the loss of more than 300,000 former jobs, Florida employers still face a “workforce crisis as we work our way back to pre-COVID numbers” because they are finding it difficult to fill new positions.

“Currently, we have 545,200 jobs looking for people, an increase from last month’s 528,300, and 530,000 people still looking for jobs – simply not enough Floridians with the proper skills to fill in the gaps,” Parrish said, citing last week’s unemployment figures posted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor that said Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.1%, more than 1.2% higher than February 2020.

Florida’s June unemployment rate was 5%, reflecting that an estimated 523,000 Floridians qualified as unemployed from a workforce of 10.398 million. That rate was 5.1% in July with 530,000 qualifying as unemployed.

State officials, repeatedly pointing to businesses struggling to find workers, in June reinstated a “work search” rule that requires people claiming unemployment benefits to apply for five jobs a week.

Gov. Ron DeSantis also suspended Florida’s participation in a federal program that offered $300 a week to unemployed people on top of the maximum $275 a week in state benefits.

The fact that “the unemployment rate is going up just means more people are looking forward jobs,” Parrish said, noting the rate “is not something to worry about” because, in the grand scheme of things, Florida is expecting 4 million new residents who will create the need to

DAYTONA BEACH — Jennifer Pickett was all smiles as she emerged from an interview at an open-house job fair this past week at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort.

Pickett, 45, who left her job as an assistant manager at a senior assisted living facility in Palm Coast in the wake of COVID-related stresses of 2020, was excited about the prospects of a hospitality career.

“I really think this whole area, Daytona Beach, is hopping again,” she said, following an interview that she hoped would lead to a job in reservations or customer service. “I think the Hilton is a classy, sophisticated hotel, with a great feel to it. I think it would be a great hotel to work for.

“There should be hundreds of people here,” she said. “I don’t know why there aren’t.”

Indeed, business is booming at Volusia County hotels this summer, with occupancy and tourism bed-tax collections topping the destination’s performance for pre-COVID 2019.

Hisa Tamura, a guest services employee, rolls a guest's luggage to their car during check-out on Monday at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort. The 744-room hotel, the largest in Daytona Beach, is among the Volusia County hotels struggling to hire workers as summer tourism is booming, a reflection of a national trend.

Tourism taxes climb:Collections for May reflect 52% jump over pre-pandemic May 2019

Help (really wanted):Volusia restaurants, hotels struggle to hire workers

 Yet many hotels are still struggling to hire employees to bolster workforces downsized by pandemic-related staff reductions a year ago.Only a trickle of applicants — a dozen or so — arrived over the first two hours of the Hilton’s job fair, a five-hour window for interviews about a wide range of jobs that included bartenders, cooks, front-deck supervisors, security officers, reservationists and other roles at the 744-room hotel, the largest in Daytona Beach.

“It’s really the whole gamut,” said Jordan White, the hotel’s Human Resources director. “Food and beverage, reservations, people support; it’s almost the whole hotel.”

To entice potential employees, the Hilton offered a perk to job fair applicants, a drawing to win a two-night stay at the hotel. Even so, the hallway outside the interview rooms in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom was quiet.

In greeting applicants, White also touted the hotel’s famed worldwide brand, its competitive wages and employee recognition programs and its standing as one of the marquee hotels on the World’s Most Famous Beach.

“More important is the people and the relationships that we build here,” she said.  

Potential job candidates participate in interviews for open positions at a recent job fair at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort. “I think the Hilton is a classy, sophisticated hotel, with a great feel to it," said Jennifer Pickett, of Palm Coast, among the day's job applicants. 
“There should be hundreds of people here,” she said. “I don’t know why there aren’t.”

‘It has to be better’: Job satisfaction low in hospitality industry

Despite all that, the Hilton is among the area hotels scrambling to fill open positions, a reflection of a national labor crisis that has hit the hotel and restaurant industry hard even as customers return in big numbers following the 2020 pandemic lockdowns.  

The reasons are tied to a variety of factors that include low wages, the availability of federal unemployment benefits and displaced workers who have moved on to other careers after losing jobs during the pandemic.

The impact of the latter is evident by the results of a newly released survey of more than 13,000 former hospitality workers by online employment-search firm Joblist. It shows that more than half of those workers did not want to return to the industry and more than

Cruise enthusiasts are ready to set sail after a year of uncertainty as cruises return to the ports in Florida. Port officials and travel agents in Tampa Bay are also ready for the ports to reopen to cruise traffic.

“Florida has long been the global headquarters for the cruise industry — not only for their actual corporate headquarters, but for cruise home ports and cruise transit ports,” Florida Ports Council President Michael Rubin said. “The return of this industry means millions of state and local revenues, and hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Rubin said prior to the pandemic, close to 20 million cruise passengers transited Florida Port Council seaports.  Port Tampa Bay is one of the 14 member seaports of the Florida Ports Council.

Port Tampa Bay Director of Communications Lisa Wolf-Chason said pre-pandemic, cruise revenue made up 17% of Port Tampa Bay’s budget.

“The return of cruising will be a tremendous boost to our port and surrounding businesses that depend on tourism,” Wolf-Chason said. “Fortunately, Port Tampa Bay is one of the most diversified ports in the country with cargo, bulk cargo and a robust container business, which helps it continue to have a strong financial standing.”

In 2019, Port Tampa Bay had 1,149,289 cruise passengers. Visit Tampa Bay Chief Marketing Officer Patrick Harrison said losing those passengers negatively impacted Tampa Bay’s tourism economy, especially because most were from outside of Tampa.

“It’s not only the number of passengers, but it’s a number of hotel nights we were losing within the area, too,” Harrison said. “On top of that, it’s the related jobs of those people that we use in restaurants, even the parking lots, people having to fly in and use the airport.”

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Vice President for Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Bari Golin-Blaugrund said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cruise industry supported nearly half a million American jobs and over 1.1 million jobs worldwide.

“Based on those numbers, more than 40% of the jobs the industry supports are actually based in the United States,” Golin-Blaugrund said. “A very high percentage of those jobs are actually located in Florida.”

Cruise Planners franchise owner Kathleen Pohl is a land and cruise travel agent based in Tampa. With more than 4,000 clients over the past 14 years, Pohl said the COVID-19 pandemic profoundly affected her job. From 2019 to 2020, Pohl lost 75% of her income as a result of the pandemic.

“It has been a very challenging 15 months. We’re definitely excited to see that we have light at the end of the tunnel, that the ships are going to be sailing and that people are going to get to experience a cruise vacation again,” Pohl said.

The absence of cruises has not only impacted the economy, but it has also affected cruisers.

Dade City resident Robin Penix has cruised for over 30 years. The cruise enthusiast is one of Pohl’s clients and is more than ready to get back on a boat.

“This

Carnival Cruise line will require passengers who are not vaccinated and sailing from Florida to get travel insurance. Carnival Cruise says they have been sailing with 95% of guests and crew vaccinated since the Fourth of July Weekend. The cruise line says unvaccinated guests will need to have travel insurance for sailings departing on July 31. This will not currently be required for children under the age of 12, as they are ineligible for vaccines. Guests who are unvaccinated must provide proof of a valid travel insurance policy when they check in that has a minimum of $10,000 per person in medical coverage and $30,000 for emergency medical evacuation and without COVID-19 exclusions. Carnival will require the policy to name the unvaccinated guest as policy holder or beneficiary. Unvaccinated passengers who don’t have travel insurance will not be let on the ship and will not get a refund. Royal Caribbean previously announced a similar requirement.

Carnival Cruise line will require passengers who are not vaccinated and sailing from Florida to get travel insurance.

Carnival Cruise says they have been sailing with 95% of guests and crew vaccinated since the Fourth of July Weekend.

The cruise line says unvaccinated guests will need to have travel insurance for sailings departing on July 31. This will not currently be required for children under the age of 12, as they are ineligible for vaccines.

Guests who are unvaccinated must provide proof of a valid travel insurance policy when they check in that has a minimum of $10,000 per person in medical coverage and $30,000 for emergency medical evacuation and without COVID-19 exclusions.

Carnival will require the policy to name the unvaccinated guest as policy holder or beneficiary.

Unvaccinated passengers who don’t have travel insurance will not be let on the ship and will not get a refund.

Royal Caribbean previously announced a similar requirement.

Bringing the company in line with Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line now has amended its travel requirements to include insurance for guests that have not been vaccinated. Although the cruise line has mandated that all passengers are vaccinated fully, there are instances where someone who has not been vaccinated can still sail.

Why Is Carnival Making Insurance a Requirement?

The cruise line has updated its protocols page which now includes a travel insurance requirement for unvaccinated guests who are sailing. The cruise is following the CDC guidelines and a small number of unvaccinated passengers can request to cruise if they are ineligible for the vaccine.

Also Read: Which Carnival Cruise Ships Have Resumed Operations?

This means that if there are 1,000 guests on board, 50 could be unvaccinated. Should an outbreak occur, the cruise line ensures that all bases are covered in terms of quarantine, possible hospitalization, or even a medical evacuation.

However, the measure is not set to come into effect until July 31, giving guests scheduled to sail more than enough time to prepare and purchase insurance. The first sailing impacted by this insurance cover is the maiden voyage for Mardi Gras on that same date.

Carnival Cruise Line Insurance Requirement
Carnival Website

Guests can choose to purchase insurance from their travel insurance company or through Carnival Vacation Protection. The measure is intended for any adults who have not been vaccinated and teenagers above the age of 12 years of age not eligible for vaccinations. Carnival cruise line will be waiving this requirement for children under the age of 12 who are ineligible for vaccines.

Royal Caribbean took the step to require insurance as well, starting August 1, however in the case of Royal Caribbean the cruise line is sailing with both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests from Florida, something Carnival is not doing.

As well, in the case of Royal Caribbean, the measures are intended mostly to deter guests that have not been vaccinated; something that does not seem to be the case for Carnival, as they already have the vaccine mandate.

Carnival Cruise Ship Lido
Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive

Carnival Remains Strict With Vaccine Requirements

Although Carnival can allow guests to sail on board its ships if they have not been vaccinated, those guests will need to make some effort to be allowed to cruise. The cruise line has stated already that guests will not be allowed to sail if they have not asked for an exemption:

From the Carnival Website:

Vaccination exemptions must be pre-approved and are subject to capacity controls. Exemptions are not granted on embarkation day. Unvaccinated guests must adhere to specific protocols and testing requirements as communicated to them in advance as a condition for travel.

Carnival Cruise Line is one of the only companies that actively require guests to show proof of vaccination in Florida, despite a law that makes this illegal. Despite possible fines of up to 5,000 dollars each time the cruise line asks for proof of a passenger, Florida has remained quiet on the subject since Carnival

(Adds details on Freedom of the Seas) 

June 29 (Reuters) – Royal Caribbean International said on Tuesday it would require unvaccinated guests over 12 years of age traveling from Florida to show proof of insurance that covers COVID-19 related medical expenses, quarantine and evacuation. 

The new policy comes after two unvaccinated teenagers tested positive on its Adventure of the Seas ship last week and two others were infected on Celebrity Millennium earlier this month. Celebrity had said it would bear expenses for the two cases. 

Sailings on its new ship, Odyssey Of The Seas, was also postponed after crew members had tested positive. 

In Florida, the government bars companies from requiring to show proof of vaccines, making it difficult for cruise operators which, as per U.S. health regulators’ orders, need to show a majority of its passengers and crew are vaccinated before setting sail. 

The insurance policy must have a minimum of $25,000 per person for medical expenses and $50,000 per person in travel expenses, Royal Caribbean said. 

Proof of travel insurance is a condition of boarding and must be shown at check in, the company said. The changes apply to trips from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. 

The cruise operator’s parent Royal Caribbean Group restarted sailing from U.S. ports and has a slew of trips planned after more than a year of anchoring ships. 

On Tuesday, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas received a green signal from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the cruise line’s first ship to resume sailing from the United States. 

Any unvaccinated guests, mainly children, will be subject to additional testing and specific health protocols, the cruise line’s chief executive officer, Michael Bayley, wrote on social media. 

The ship, which completed a simulated voyage earlier this month, will set sail on July 2 to the Bahamas with a fully vaccinated crew. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel) 

The eyes that follow the recruiting world currently watch the 2022 class closely. Seeing a flurry of top teams and commitment announcements come from 2022 prospects during June — the first month of in-person contact since March 2020 — the news cycle has been heavily occupied.

However, just because the present draws a surfeit of attention, recruiting efforts stretch beyond the class currently at hand.

As a result, in an attempt to get ahead of the game, programs around the nation have extended their hands early for the blue-chip talents of the future, showing now with the 2023 cycle.

For Florida, another prospect — alongside California product Makai Lemon — announced the first list cut of his recruitment process.

IMG Academy safety Joenel Aguero included the Gators in a list of 12 on July 1, naming them alongside a plethora of powerhouses, including Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas, LSU and others.

Occupying a current position of need for the Gators — seeing little depth in the group and little signs of that changing — in their own backyard, Aguero’s talents will be heavily desired by safeties coach Wesley “Crime Dawg” McGriff and the Gators secondary staff.

Working well in all facets of the game as a safety, using his receiver skills to make plays on the ball in coverage and utilizing supreme physicality and aggressiveness when working downhill against the run, Aguero’s versatility fits the mold of players McGriff has attempted to secure since arriving on the scene at Florida.

With plenty of time remaining in his recruitment, Aguero emphasized the ability for other teams to work their way into the mix, but given the uncertain circumstances that can arise — seen in 2020 with COVID — Florida’s standing as a top school early on works in their favor.

Hoping to have their luck turnaround where landing talent from IMG Academy concerned with prospects like Tyler Booker and Kamari Wilson in 2022, Aguero will be the next highly touted prospect UF hopes to see travel from Bradenton to Gainesville for three to four years.

Reuters

(Reuters) – Royal Caribbean International said on Tuesday it would require unvaccinated guests over 12 years of age traveling from Florida to show proof of insurance that covers COVID-19 related medical expenses, quarantine and evacuation.

The new policy comes after two unvaccinated teenagers tested positive on its Adventure of the Seas ship last week and two others were infected on Celebrity Millennium earlier this month. Celebrity had said it would bear expenses for the two cases.

Sailings on its new ship, Odyssey Of The Seas, was also postponed after crew members had tested positive.

In Florida, the government bars companies from requiring to show proof of vaccines, making it difficult for cruise operators which, as per U.S. health regulators’ orders, need to show a majority of its passengers and crew are vaccinated before setting sail.

The insurance policy must have a minimum of $25,000 per person for medical expenses and $50,000 per person in travel expenses, Royal Caribbean said.

Proof of travel insurance is a condition of boarding and must be shown at check in, the company said. The changes apply to trips from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31.

The cruise operator’s parent Royal Caribbean Group restarted sailing from U.S. ports and has a slew of trips planned after more than a year of anchoring ships.

On Tuesday, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas received a green signal from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the cruise line’s first ship to resume sailing from the United States.

Any unvaccinated guests, mainly children, will be subject to additional testing and specific health protocols, the cruise line’s chief executive officer, Michael Bayley, wrote on social media.

The ship, which completed a simulated voyage earlier this month, will set sail on July 2 to the Bahamas with a fully vaccinated crew. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021.

Royal Caribbean cruises departing from Florida are requiring unvaccinated passengers above the age of 12 to buy travel insurance for medical and travel costs that could occur if they get COVID-19.

The company announced on Tuesday unvaccinated passengers must get $25,000 in medical expense insurance and $50,000 insurance for quarantine and medical evacuation costs.

The insurance is required for cruises that leave from Florida from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31. 

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The policy will not apply to people who booked their cruises between March 19 and Monday.

This new insurance requirement is yet another policy change aimed to address unvaccinated cruisers sailing from Florida homeports, where cruise lines cannot mandate vaccines for its passengers due to Florida laws,” the company stated.

Along with proof of insurance, unvaccinated passengers will have to wear masks indoors and won’t be allowed in certain lounges and areas of the ship.

The costs of COVID-19 tests will also be put on unvaccinated passengers with tests for cruises less than six days being $136 and cruises more than seven days being $178.

The company will pay for COVID-19 tests for children under the age of 12 who can not get vaccinated.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisHillicon Valley: FTC votes to expand antitrust enforcement powers | US, UK agencies warn of Russian hackers using ‘brute force’ to target hundreds of groups | Trump allies launch new social media platform Biden: Families of victims of Surfside building collapse ‘realistic’ about rescue The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Goldman Sachs – Trump Org CFO’s expected indictment MORE (R) has banned businesses from being able to ask for proof of someone’s coronavirus vaccination status. 

The cruise industry has been hit hard by the pandemic with Royal Caribbean having its first ship set sail in over a year out of the U.S. this Friday.