Orange County awaiting governor’s announcement on reopening the economy

Mayor Jerry Demings and the Orange County reopening task force say it could be sometime next week before we know a specific date when the county will ease restrictions.

Some small businesses are hanging on by a thread.

They’re urging county leaders to reopen the economy as soon as possible.

“Ah, that’s great news,” said Vincent Gagliano, owner of Chez Vincent.

He's breathing a sigh of relief to hear that Governor Ron DeSantis is planning to announce a date to reopen the economy.

“Even if we can just open the outside and 25 percent inside, even 10 percent, I’m OK with it,” Gagliano said.

The small business owner says he hasn’t had real income in five weeks.

Gagliano says he can only hang on another two weeks.

“We need to go back to work, with restrictions, I have no problem with it, with making sure we have some safety guidelines. I have no problem with that, but we need to reopen,” he said.

Those restrictions and guidelines for businesses is a focus of Orange County’s reopening task force.

“We want to create guideline and mandates for openings for these businesses that are consistent so that if you walk into one restaurant, you’ll get the same type of care in another restaurant. People can have the confidence that they are going to be treated well and their health is going to be looked after,” said Chuck Whittal, president and CEO of Unicorp National Developments.

He's a member of the task force.

“That’s is what is going to be difficult is to make regulations that fit everyone, everyone’s situation,” said Dr. Raul Pino, with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.

Dr. Pino says if the economy reopens too fast, that could ignite another surge.

A sub-group on the task force is working on the safety rules this week.

“We see a common theme throughout most businesses. They are going to need to have face masks for employees; they’re going to need to temperature check employees; they’re going to need to have gloves for food industries and other industries, and sanitizer is going to be a big thing,” Whittall said.

Social distancing will also be part of the guidelines.

As we open, we have to look for that happy balance, if you will, that sweet spot between protecting lives and protecting livelihoods,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Mayor Demings is waiting on the governor’s announcement Wednesday and will pivot as needed.

He says he will do what’s in the best interest of the people.