Last Call for 5.20.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The National Federation of Independent Business had a message for Vice President Mike Pence during his swing through Florida this afternoon: small businesses are ready to reopen, but they need some direction.

Patty Nuzzo of Restaurant Equipment World in Orlando, a member of the NFIB Florida Leadership Council, was at the table for the second-in-command’s meeting equipped with survey results from small businesses across the state.

The top-line: Seven in 10 NFIB members say they’ve had enough with the phased approach and think the state should give all businesses the green light to reopen. Nearly the same amount said the government had unfairly put the thumbscrews on vacation rentals while largely sparing hotels and motels.

Bill Herrle, NFIB’s executive director for Florida, translated the angst: “Our members appreciate the Vice President coming to Florida and listening to the frustrations and concerns of small businesses and other employers. The shutdown was needed to control the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, but it’s been devastating to the state’s economy, from small, independent attractions to shops, restaurants and vacation rentals.”

The frustrations extend beyond policy — more than four-fifths said they were most concerned about how they will manage to get customers back in the door. Another 56% said they’re unsure if they’ll be able to secure the personal protective equipment needed to prevent the new coronavirus from roaring back.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases

— 46,197 FL residents (+513 since Tuesday)

— 1,274 Non-FL residents (+14 since Tuesday)


— 2,045 Travel related

— 20,886 Contact with a confirmed case

— 1,911 Both

— 21,355 Under investigation


— 8,681 in FL


— 2,096 in FL

Unemployment numbers

As of Tuesday:

Total claims: 2,052,426

— Confirmed unique claims: 1,685,851

— Claim verification queue: 199,647

— Claims processed: 1,486,204

— Claims paid: 979,887 (+4,231 since Monday)

Total paid out: $2.68 billion (+$20 million since Monday)

Evening Reads

Donald Trump threatens funding for Michigan, Nevada over absentee, mail-in voting plans via John Wagner of The Washington Post

Despite Trump’s criticisms, elections supervisors say mail-in ballots are safe via Laura Cassels of the Florida Phoenix

Rick Scott to CBO: How broke is the federal government? via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Americans harbor strong fear of second wave of coronavirus infections, back precautions amid openings via Thomas Beaumont and Hannah Fingerhut of The Associated Press

HHS watchdog who exposed hospital shortages to testify before House panel via Mike DeBonis of The Washington Post

“America’s patchwork pandemic is fraying even further via Ed Yong of The Atlantic

The day coronavirus nearly broke the financial markets via Justin Baer of The Wall Street Journal

Senate Democrats give Ron DeSantis list of 1k waiting for jobless benefits via Christine Stapleton and Antonio Fins of the Palm Beach Post

Where does DeSantis go to get his apology? via Rich Lowry of National Review

Rebekah Jones’ firing is the COVID clickbait the media dreams of — but it’s all fake via Brian Burgess of The Capitolist

DeSantis says fired COVID-19 dashboard employee facing criminal charges via Daniel Molina of The Floridian

Unpaid for weeks, Disney workers push back on Gov. DeSantis via Christopher Heath of WFTV

Universal Orlando will present reopening plans to Orange task force tomorrow as first step to reopening via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel

Education leaders encourage institutional change amid COVID-19 pandemic via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

How the ‘Plandemic’ movie and its falsehoods spread widely online via Sheera Frenkel, Ben Decker and Davey Alba of The New York Times

Quote of the Day

“I’m basically the backup quarterback in the game for a few plays while the quarterback is getting checked by the doctor.” — Sen. Marco Rubio, on chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee after Sen. Richard Burr.

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