Local governments begin talks about reopening the economy

Local leaders are coming up with a game plan for reopening the economy, but experts advise people to be patient and expect changes once businesses reopen.

“Our sales went from about $4,000-$5,000 a night, down to about $200 a day,” said Peter Miguel, manager at Jax Fifth Avenue Bar and Grill.

Miguel says the COVID-19 shutdown has nearly wiped out business for the bar and grill.

Though his staff is struggling, he wants the all-clear to reopen when the time is right.

“I’d rather go an extra week or so and make sure things are calmed down and good to go than open the doors to soon and have another surge come on,” Miguel said.

He’s talking about the fear of a second wave of new cases.

“It’s a double-edge sword. We wanna get the doors open, get my staff back in here and employ them, but on the other hand, I don’t want this to go on for another six weeks,” Miguel said.

“I wish we could turn the lights back on,” said Sean Snaith, economist and professor at The University of Central

Snaith agrees that timing is critical.

He says people should prepare for a slow reversal of closings and restrictions.

“What we’re likely to see is a bit of a step-wise process where we begin to open up some segments of the economy before others,” Snaith said.

Local governments are beginning to discuss the plan for reopening.

In Orange County, expect some changes at first.

“We may reduce occupancy levels. It could include the mandate for certain screenings to occur, the taking of temperatures at certain types of businesses, or whatever, before people enter,” said Jerry Demings, Orange County mayor.

The workforce should also expect modifications.

“It could mean additional sanitary protocols for employees of certain types of businesses to require them to wear masks or other things,” Demings said.

But the question on everyone’s mind is how soon could it happen?

“Hopefully, we’ll see some of this in May and accelerated into June. And by July time period, [we'll] have most of the economy open for business again,” Snaith said.

FOX 35 News reached out to Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties, they are all working on a reopening plan.