ORLANDO, Fla. - Vice President Mike Pence visited central Florida on Wednesday, as the region's biggest tourist destination begins reopening.
Pence, who was joined Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, met with tourism officials, to talk about how to safely bring the hospitality and leisure industry back to life after the coronavirus quarantine.
"We're going to continue to put safety first," said Gov. DeSantis, "but we've got to get people back in business."
"We believe in the American people," Vice President Pence added. "We believe in the collective common sense and good judgment of the people in this country to do the right thing."
Pence's visit coincided with the limited opening of Disney Springs, the entertainment and dining complex at Walt Disney World. Some third-party shops opened Wednesday at Disney Springs with new requirements and restrictions. All workers and visitors must wear masks, temperatures will be checked at entrances and a limited number of people will be allowed in.
Walt Disney World and crosstown rivals Universal Orlando and SeaWorld have been closed since mid-March.
Tourism is Florida’s number one industry and it has crashed during the coronavirus pandemic. Hotels, theme parks, and other vacation-based businesses have seen massive drops in revenue because of closures.
According to Dana Young, the head of Visit Florida, hotels saw a drop in revenue of $1.6 billion during a six-week period in March and April compared to last year. He said that both domestic air travel and international air travel is down too compared to last year.
Vice President Pence then visited a nursing home as part of an initiative to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to more than 15,000 nursing homes across America.
Pence waved at people along the sidewalks as his motorcade drove into the Westminster Baldwin Park active senior living center in Orlando.
“It’s very difficult to get these supplies, so we’re really thankful for Vice President Pence and Ron DeSantis to give us the supplies we need to protect our residents,” said Fanley Romelus, Health Services Administrator at Westminster Baldwin Park.
FOX 35 News will stream much of Vice President Pence's visit onto our website, app, and Facebook page.
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