In today’s press briefing, Orange County Mayor, Jerry Demings provided an update on the status of the county in the midst of re-opening.
Orange County is currently in “Phase One” of the plan laid out by the Orange County Task Force and is gradually opening restaurants, stores, and salons. Today’s briefing focused on how the re-opening has impacted the community so far as well as key points moving forward.
Today marked the launch of Orange County’s free personal protective equipment (PPE) to small businesses. The county plans to distribute 1 million masks to businesses with 1 to 25 employees. If you would like to be considered for the program, you can register online here.
Demings reiterated the importance of reducing the virus’ spread in the coming weeks. He acknowledged his disappointment in seeing staff at a few locations not wearing masks after re-opening, but Health Officer, Dr. Pino, stated the county is “in good shape” for now. Pino also commented that they are continuing to see the positivity rate decline and it is down from 4.5% to 4.0%.
The county is also working to increase availability of viral tests. The Orange County Convention center is currently operating as a testing site for health professionals with no appointment necessary.
New sites are slated to open throughout the month and Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer, stated how testing is important to stay on a “safe path” and make data-driven decisions moving forward.
In terms of the local economy, Orange County Comptroller, Phil Diamond said it is hard to predict how the county will faire by the end of the fiscal year, but that Shanghai Disneyland’s re-opening will have an effect.
The county was trending towards a record breaking year prior to the closures (ahead by $10 million), but are now behind by about $70 million. He also noted the timeline for theme parks opening and people’s comfort with traveling following a pandemic will both factor into the economy’s rebound.
Dr. Pino stated that they do not have a specific date in mind for moving into Phase Two of the re-opening plan and it is too early to say whether the recent re-openings have affected the data.
However, multiple representatives stressed the importance of individual responsibility in controlling the spread. Even though the county is “in good shape” for now, maintaining the progress will depend on residents continuing to protect themselves and others.