The mayor of Orange County has announced a plan for reopening area businesses.
Earlier this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis delivered guidelines for Phase One of reopening the state. Following this announcement, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has responded with an update on the approach for reopening businesses in the area.
According to the guidelines delivered by Governor DeSantis, Florida restaurants and retail stores can reopen their businesses with a 25% indoor occupancy starting on May 4th. However, Mayor Demings has followed up with further information regarding the reopening of Orange County, where Walt Disney World Resort partially resides.
The Florida state government has established that the recommendations give by Governor DeSantis are the minimum that businesses must follow, but that the counties can clarify and impose stricter limits if they choose to. With 77% of cases cured and expansion of testing, Orange County chose to make a few clarifications specific to the county level from the suggestions of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force.
A major update is that Orange County will be extending the 11PM – 5 AM curfew into next week, and then reevaluating on a week-by-week basis.
Mayor Demings clarified that though the Governor allows outdoor dining without limitations at restaurants, businesses will still need to follow the required permits in Orange County. Essentially, a restaurant can’t just set tables up outside and call it “outdoor dining” so that they can open. Everything still has to follow the appropriate legal processes.
Specifically, members of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force have presented the following seven guidelines:
- Practice social distancing.
- Stay home when feeling sick.
- Wear protective face coverings.
- Conduct health screenings with employees.
- Sanitize and wash hands frequently.
- High-risk individuals should shelter and work from home whenever possible.
- Recommend temperature checks for staff. A temperature of 100 degrees and above must stay home.
In response to a question about theme park reopenings, Mayor Demings responded that they can’t say for sure when theme parks will open. He mentioned that it is up to the theme parks themselves based on the Governor’s guidelines and their own business decisions. “Only they can tell you,” he said.
Each sub-group of the Task Force was also able to individually present their thoughts. The Work Group subcommittee will also be recommending Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, “move forward to seek the authority to reopen personal care facilities.”
Click here to read the biggest takeaways from yesterday’s meeting of the Orange County Economic Task Force!
The Business Readiness Working Group is the subcommittee tasked with building the framework to vet, disseminate, and provide resources to employers. By May 4th, they will be giving the Mayor a new report with regards to COVID-19-specific employee safety protocols and operational templates along with other recommendations.
Evelyn Cardenas, CEO of Central Florida Auto Dealers Association presented a Business Compliance and Consumer Confidence update. She recommended a three-step process for businesses to positively reinforce their commitment to the health and safety of the public including customers as well as workers.
Cardenas proposed a Portal Wall of Fame where restaurants and stores could be commended for their safe business practices by patrons or employees. She also said anyone with concerns over a business being non-compliant with health guidelines could file a report on Myfloridalicense.com. The state could provide the concerns detailed in the complaint to the business operator, as well as help them with guidance and sourcing any supplies that were needed to address the issue. Some time would be allowed for correction.
Bringing Back Tourism was the last sub-group to present. The committee said they would be focusing on building customer and traveler confidence back up by developing a unified brand through Visit Orlando and would be rebranding the website with an emphasis on staycations for Florida’s residents. Their efforts will be to drive business from in-state until they can expand outwards once people feel it is safe to travel.
The subgroup stated personal concern about contracting the virus during travel has improved and people are gradually feeling safer about travel in general. But Americans will most likely continue to associate travel with fear and uncertainty for some time.
Mayor Demings also announced that, though the Task Force’s work is incomplete, the government will be releasing an Executive Order within the next 24 hours alongside the county attorney that encompasses much of the suggested guidelines thus far.