Orange County task force to start working on re-opening plan today in virtual meeting

The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force held its first virtual meeting Wednesday morning. 

The task force began working on a plan to re-open the county amid the coronavirus pandemic. Members of the task force include local business leaders and officials from Osceola, Lake and Seminole counties.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said the task force will hear from local hospitals about what they are seeing with COVID-19 cases. They will also hear from theme parks about what they are seeing in other parts of the world.

“For example, Shanghai Disney has opened a limited number of shopping, dining and entertainment options while the theme parks remained closed,” Mayor Demings said.

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The Mayor said the goal is to get Orange County’s economy going as quickly as possible but he is asking people to be patient.

“We can’t flip a switch and go back to the way things once were. It’s going to take time.” He said people could see the county re-opening in phases.

Members of the task force will be talking with health experts and all local businesses impacted by the county’s “Stay at Home” order to gather the best ideas on how to re-open the county. 

Mayor Demings said he expects changes in sanitation and cleanliness procedures across the globe in light of the pandemic and workers might have to be re-trained on how to handle the new normal depending on what federal and state guidelines come down.

“We may have to require certain employees and businesses to wear masks, take temperature readings and continue some form of social distancing.”

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The task force is set to meet over the next several weeks and could continue to meet even longer. Mayor Demings said, “They may continue to meet even after there’s a type of reopening to make sure we’re being as responsible as we should be as a community.”

Orange County still has to decide when to implement the county’s re-opening plan once it is created. The county could start re-opening once Florida’s “Safer at Home” order expires on April 30.