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The Sunshine Economy

The Sunshine Economy: Financial Statements – Stories Of Money And The Price Of Life During COVID-19


Sheng Guo was among the first people in South Florida to experience the impact of COVID-19. He grew up near Wuhan, China, where the virus started. He lives in Weston now, but his parents and grandmother still live close to Wuhan. Guo is an economics instructor at FIU.


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Six employees of Deidre Everdij’s conference management company — COTC Events in Dania Beach —  were among the first economic casualties of the virus. They made up half her staff and they were laid off the first week in March.

Guo and Everdij are some of the South Floridians who have shared with us their stories of money and the price of life here during COVID-19. The pandemic has touched every part of the economy, affecting people's financial lives in different ways.

You can see all of our collected stories so far by clicking here.

If you are interested in sharing your story, please email us at sunshineeconomy@wlrnnews.org.

In this episode:

Nikki Mason and Joshua Berlongeiri have experienced the public health dangers and economic consequences of the pandemic. She’s a nurse treating coronavirus patients. He’s a technician at a sign company that was initially furloughed when business disappeared.


Deidra Everdij went from paying closer to attention to office supply costs to laying off employees in the matter of about a week in March. Her busines, COTC Events, organizes large corporate conferences in South Florida. That business was among the first economic casualties of COVID-19.


Susan  Hamilton has adapted to the new reality of the virus. As a pilates instructor, she had a studio in Miami Beach and made house calls before the pandemic. But the virus shut down that work. When we first spoke with her in late March, the local stay at home orders had been issued and she was worried about how to stay in business.


Will Benson's business disappeared almost overnight when the Keys closed to visitors and non-essential workers. Benson is a sport fishing captain based in the Lower Keys. We spoke with him a week into the isolation.

Charlie Nolan was in what she thought was going to be her last semester at Broward College before graduating with her bachelor’s degree. She worked part-time on campus in a lab, but then on-campus classes were canceled and courses went online. because of COVID-19.


Jonathan Tuman is a dentist who does cosmetic work and works with special needs patients. His practice was shut down for a few weeks. He considers himself lucky, but thinks his business will change because of the virus. We first spoke with him in April.


Sheng Guo may have been among the first in South Florida to experience the impact of the virus. He grew up near Wuhan, China, where it started. His parents and grandmother still live close to the city. Guo is an economics instructor at FIU and he foresaw what would be in store for South Florida when we spoke with him in late February.


In a journalism career covering news from high global finance to neighborhood infrastructure, Tom Hudson is the Vice President of News and Special Correspondent for WLRN. He hosts and produces the Sunshine Economy and anchors the Florida Roundup in addition to leading the organization's news engagement strategy.