ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange County officials say that they have lost $154 million in potential economic impact after multiple conferences scheduled to take place at the Orange County Convention Center were canceled as coronavirus fears continue to sweep the nation.
There are nine total cases so far of coronavirus patients tied to Florida. The latest one is an elderly person from Santa Rosa County who has "severe underlying conditions." Two of the others are from Hillsborough County and a third patient is from Manatee County. The rest are Florida residents who have tested positive for the virus but are in other parts of the country, where they will remain until healthy.
Orange County has not had one positive case of coronavirus yet and officials want to remind citizens that the county remains at low risk of a major outbreak.
"We invite families and others to consider vacationing here, especially during spring break. We are still open for business here," Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said. "It is important to note that there are no known coronavirus cases in Orange County."
Despite this, multiple conventions scheduled at the Orange County Convention Center were canceled because of coronavirus concerns. These include the 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition, which President Trump was scheduled to speak at, the Ellucian Live 2020 conference, and the Minecraft Festival.
The HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition alone would have had 43,000 attendees, bringing in about 94,530 room nights at Orange County hotels. Overall, the loss of this conference cost Orange County $113 million in potential economic impact. The other two conferences, while smaller in size, were still large and combined, caused a $41 million loss in potential economic impact.
"So if you do the math, we lost roughly $154 million in potential economic impact just this week alone," Mayor Demings added. Despite this substantial loss, he had some good news as well. "Our leisure travelers continue to come to Orange County to enjoy our theme parks and all that we have to offer."
Visit Orlando, according to Demings, actually reports that the virus has had no impact on leisure travel to Orange County.
The international travelers that come to the county are not usually from CDC areas of concerns either. Demings said that only .3 percent of the 75 million visitors who come to Orange County are from areas where there have been cases of coronavirus.
"We want to emphasize in Orange County that we are open for business and that the risk, again, remains low for our community," Demings said.
Demings reassured citizens as well that they will be fully informed if a case of coronavirus arises in Orange County.
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