An empty street is seen in Little Havana, Miami, after local authorities restricted the activities of restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other similar businesses for precaution due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Miami, Florida U.S., March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

(Reuters) – Florida is one of the five best states in the nation in which to do business, according to a new survey. It’s also one of the five worst, according to the same survey, thanks to COVID-19.

Every three years, Development Counsellors International, an economic development marketing firm, surveys executives to rank business climates in the various U.S. states. For the first time since they began doing the survey in 1996, a single state landed in the top five in both categories: Florida. The DCI report was released on Tuesday.

“The rationale for Florida being on both the best and worst lists was entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Julie Curtin, president of DCI’s economic development practice. “In our follow-up questions to corporate executives about the states they selected, the majority of the corporate executives who selected Florida said that the state’s handling of the pandemic had negatively affected their perception of the state’s business climate.”

Because of how the survey is structured, however, other executives were still able to cite Florida as a good place to do business because of things like low taxes and access to skilled workers.

Florida has been a hotspot for the pandemic. So far, 15,552 have died in the state, according to a Reuters tally. Only four other states, New Jersey, New York, California, and Texas, have had more deaths.

The once-every-three-year ranking is usually quite predictable. California has ranked as the worst state to do business in seven of nine surveys. New York took that distinction the other two years. Texas ranks as having the best business climate in this year’s survey, as it did in seven of the last eight surveys.

Reporting by Timothy Aeppel; Editing by Andrea Ricci

By Timothy Aeppel, Reuters.com