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Gulfshore Business Daily: May 26

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Gulfshore Business Daily was not published on Monday, in observance of Memorial Day.
 

CRITICAL FEDERAL FUNDING FOR SWFL TIED TO 2020 CENSUS RESPONSES

The importance of completing the 2020 Census is especially clear as local communities respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating in the Census every 10 years ensures that Southwest Florida receives its share of federal funding, such as the $134 million targeted for Lee County COVID-19 relief through the CARES Act. So far, though, about 54% of the Lee County population has responded, lagging behind both the national rate of 59% and the Florida rate of 57%. Census statistics help determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and how billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated to state and local communities for the next decade. For the first time, the Census is available to complete online at my2020census.gov or by phone at 844-330-2020. It’s easy and secure. Residents also may participate by mail, as usual. By mid-August, field workers will be deployed to locate anyone who has not completed a Census form.

Bonita Springs Community Park (City of Bonita Springs, shared via WINK News)

BONITA SPRINGS BEGINS PHASED REOPENING OF PARK FACILITIES

The City of Bonita Springs has begun a phased reopening of its park facilities. The reopening includes the community pool, recreation center fitness room, playgrounds, basketball courts and Marni soccer fields. Staff has placed additional signage advising of CDC guidelines at all sites and will continue to clean frequently and educate the public on social distancing. The recreation center will open for Summer Camp on June 8. Contact the Bonita Springs YMCA, 239-221-4560, to register your child. For specific restrictions of the pool, fields, playgrounds, fitness room and pavilions, see this WINK News report.
 

Sanibel Island beach front. (Credit: CBS, shared via WINK News)

LEE, COLLIER, CHARLOTTE COUNTIES ALLOWED TO RESUME VACATION RENTALS

The state gave Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties the OK last week to resume vacation rentals. The vacation rentals executive order signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis set minimum standards with some restrictions, WINK News reports. For instance, the order prohibits rentals to international travelers. Also, adequate time between the conclusion of a guest stay and the check-in of the next guest stay must be allowed for appropriate cleaning and sanitation. Adequate safety protocols must be in place and publicly displayed in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance regarding shared or multi-residence amenities such as pools, gyms and other communal spaces. Click here for a list of Florida counties approved to resume vacation rentals.
 

BUSINESS CONTINUE TO REOPEN

CareerSource Southwest Florida will reopen its career centers on June 1 by appointment following strict CDC health guidelines. CareerSource appointments can be made by calling the closest center to you or visiting www.careersourcesouthwestflorida.com. CareerSource is not the agency that determines eligibility for unemployment benefits, as benefits are determined through the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and are accessible through hereEdison and Ford Winter Estates will open its botanical gardens and the riverside of the property this Friday. The riverside will be open Friday through Monday each week, through June. The museum and laboratory will remain closed at this time. Discounted admission tickets are available. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance at EdisonFord.org.
 

LEE HEALTH, NCH ANNOUNCE NEXT PHASE OF ‘SWFL SAFER TOGETHER’ 

Lee Health and NCH have announced the next phase of their collaboration with the “SWFL Safer Together” campaign, reflective of the region’s transition to safely reopen after flattening the curve on the coronavirus pandemic. They are asking the Southwest Florida community to join them in taking continued safety precautions, returning to best, most effective health care practices, and continuing to provide support through donations. Amongst such protocols, the healthcare systems stress continued practices of safe physical distancing by remaining at least 6 feet apart, wearing face masks out in public to help keep everyone healthy and safe, and washing hands multiple times throughout the day for at least 20 seconds each time as the best defense. The two healthcare systems also urge community members to return to their normal healthcare practices, not to delay seeking medical help with concerns or further delaying routine checkups. For more information or to make an online donation to SWFL Safer Together, visit SWFLtogether.org.
 

SWFL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AT 14.2%

The unemployment rate in Southwest Florida is 14.2%, compared to 13.3% in the state of Florida, according to an April Labor Market Trends report from CareerSource Southwest Florida, sourced by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The unemployment rate is 14.6% in Lee County, 13.4% in Collier County, 15.6% in Charlotte County, 7.2% in Glades County, and 10.5% in Hendry County. The top high-loss industries included leisure and hospitality (down 41,900 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities (down 8,100 jobs); other services (down 3,000 jobs); and education and health (down 2,800 jobs). The unemployment rates have not been seasonally adjusted. For information on assistance programs, visit the Lee County Government portal at leeflcares.com.
 

REPORT: NAPLES REAL ESTATE MARKET SLOWS IN APRIL

Coronavirus slowed Naples area real estate market activity in April during Florida’s safe-at-home restrictions. Overall closed sales decreased 28.6% to 838 closed sales, compared to 1,173 closed sales in April 2019, according to the April 2020 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS (NABOR), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). Inventory decreased as well in April by 29.1% to 5,394 homes, compared to 7,605 homes in April 2019. The April report also confirms home values remain intact. To view the entire report, visit NaplesArea.com.
 

NAPLES CHAMBER TO DISCUSS FUTURE OF TRANSPORATION

The Greater Naples Chamber will host Christopher Emmanuel, the director of infrastructure and governance policy at the Florida Chamber, to discuss the future of transportation during a virtual Wake Up Naples at 8 a.m. on June 10. Emmanuel will provide updates on the state’s multi-use corridors of regional economic significance (M-CORES) program, which includes building a toll road connecting Collier to Polk County; the growth in micromobility; and the role autonomous vehicles will play in the future of transportation. The event is sponsored by Dolphin Transportation Specialists. The event is free for members and $15 for nonmembers. Advanced registration is required at napleschamber.org/events.
 

IN THE KNOW

MY Shower Door opens eighth Florida showroom today

MY Shower Door is opening its eighth frameless shower door location today in the Towers Shopping Center at 2708 Santa Barbara Blvd. at the corner of Veterans Parkway in Cape Coral. MY Shower Door, along with sister company D3 Glass, has grown to more than 100 staff members since opening in 2003. The company has been ranked in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America four separate times and named as Lee County’s “Manufacturer of the Year” by the Horizon Council at the Industry Appreciation Awards.
 

Marisa Carrozzo

Carrozzo selected for second term as co-chair of Everglades Coalition

Marisa Carrozzo, Everglades and water policy manager at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, has been selected to serve a second term as co-chair for the Everglades Coalition. The Everglades Coalition is an alliance of over 60 local, state and national environmental organizations focused on restoring the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, an area that stretches from Central Florida through the Florida Keys. Carrozzo has worked at the Conservancy since 2011 and is responsible for developing and implementing policy initiatives for water resources and environmental issues impacting the western Everglades. Shortly after graduating from Miami University in Ohio, Carrozzo held a position as a conservation associate in the Conservancy’s policy department. Carrozzo has over nine years of experience in natural resource policy at the local, state and federal levels.
 

Local shop launches custom imprinted PPE products

Creative Marketing Services, a local branded merchandise shop launches custom imprinted personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to customer demand.  Branded product options include custom imprinted, full-color face masks and gel hand sanitizers. Additionally, the company is offering the Caring Hands PPE Kit that includes packets of hand sanitizer and antiseptic towelettes. For more information, click here or call 239-357-0805.
 

Betty Maclean Travel remains open

Naples-based Betty Maclean Travel has remained in operation throughout the Florida Stay at Home Order. The advisors and staff have been helping hundreds of clients navigate the myriad of changes in travel, according to a press release. The office is open and ready to assist all travelers who need help in planning their future travel as well as working with suppliers on the many policy changes that have occurred in the last couple of months. Some advisors are working remotely, and others are in the office on a daily basis; all practicing social distancing and CDC guidelines.
 

Rookery Bay Eco-Tours running daily

Friends of Rookery Bay invites people to enjoy its naturalist-led private, small group kayak and boat tours that run daily at 9 a.m. Kayak rentals with drop off at various locations are also available. Collier and Lee county residents with an ID can enjoy a 10% discount through Sept. 1. Get details at rookerybay.org and book by calling 239-530-5972.
 

CHARITABLE NOTES

The Immokalee Foundation receives $10,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield

The Immokalee Foundation received a $10,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield www.bcbs.com to support the foundation’s groundbreaking program, Career Pathways: Empowering Students to Succeed. Career Pathways is a career-readiness program that introduces students to well-paying career opportunities in high-demand employment sectors, according to a news release. Additionally, Career Pathways guides students to the industry-recognized certifications that provide entry into many of these careers. The Immokalee Foundation students earn a 100% high school graduation rate and continue on to post-secondary certification programs or college, where 91% complete their programs.
 

Middle school students donate masks to Golisano Children’s Hospital

Students at Corkscrew Middle School wanted to brighten the day of kids at Golisano Children’s Hospital by making something handmade just for them. Bryana Hamilton, a 7th grader, created 25 encouragement bracelets. “When they wear them, it has bright colors, it gives them a sense of positivity. I really want to spread the positive message,” she says. The students also donated 35 handmade masks, Edible Arrangements, cupcakes and $250 to go toward craft supplies, WINK News reports.
 

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