Orange County Fire Rescue Chief James Fitzgerald welcomes home the Central Florida Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 team.

While restaurants and bars may operate at 100% occupancy, Orange County encourages businesses to review their insurance policies, and take note, as there may be a liability risk if a person(s) contracts COVID-19 while there

From the Orange County Newsroom

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings held a news conference on Monday late afternoon, stressing and clarifying some key points in regard to Governor DeSantis’ announcement of entering Phase 3 of the Reopening Plan.

Key points for Phase 3 reopening announcement:

  • Orange County, the state of Florida and the United States of America are still under a Public Health State of Emergency for COVID-19.
  • Orange County’s Facial Coverings Executive Order is still in effect, as this protective measure prevents the spread of COVID-19. We have not ever imposed any fines, and the mask mandate is still in place until further notice.
  • Businesses can and should still require masks.
  • Orange County Strike Teams will continue to proactively visit businesses, offer free PPE and needed signage as well as provide guidance on best practices to comply with current CDC guidelines to reopen/remain open safely.
  • While restaurants and bars may operate at 100% occupancy, Orange County encourages businesses to review their insurance policies, and take note, as there may be a liability risk if a person(s) contracts COVID-19 at your restaurant or bar.

Orange County will continue to provide free COVID-19 testing and connect residents and business owners with CARES Programs and resources.

COVID-19 numbers

Since Friday, September 25, 2020 there has been an increase of 273 positive cases. Orange County has lost a total of 444 residents to COVID-19. The two-week positive average is 4.2% and positivity average since the beginning of the pandemic is 11.4%. Visit www.ocfl.net/COVID19Snapshot for additional details.

CARES for non-profits

Many Orange County-based nonprofit organizations have had to endure unanticipated expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social service nonprofit organizations may be eligible to apply for funding through Orange County’s CARES.

Orange County has allotted $2.8 million in funding through the County’s Social-Service Nonprofit Fund Program. Reimbursement amounts – up to $5,000 – are based on COVID-19 related expenses and are unexpected costs.

“Through our contractual agreement, Heart of Florida United Way will manage fund disbursements,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “They are a trusted, fiscal agent and community collaborator that has longstanding relationships with many nonprofits in our community. Nonprofits in our community have provided unprecedented support to our residents in this challenging time, and we want to ensure their outreach efforts continue.”

The program launched on Sept. 28, 2020 and runs through Oct. 19, 2020, and will assist eligible nonprofits that are:

  • Private, nonprofit social services/health and human services organizations
  • Physically located in Orange County, including its municipalities, as of January 1, 2020
  • Operational and providing services to Orange County residents as of January 1, 2020

Political organizations and those organization not providing health and human services to Orange County residents are not eligible.

Reimbursement amounts – up to $5,000 – are based on direct COVID-19 related expenses made on or after March 1, 2020; and are unexpected costs that were not already budgeted by the organization. Such eligible expenses are limited to:

  • Personal protective equipment (e.g., facemasks, hand sanitizers, gloves, etc.)
  • Computer equipment and software
  • Cell phones and cell phone service

Organizations must submit documentation and receipts demonstrating the eligible expenses that are directly-related to COVID-19 for which they are seeking reimbursement.

Heart of Florida United Way will manage fund disbursements and the application deadline is October 19.

For more information on eligibility criteria, required documents and how to apply, visit www.OCCares.org. All questions can be directed to Heart of Florida United Way at OCCares@hfuw.org.

CARES for job support

$36 million in federal COVID-19 aid was set aside by Orange County for social service agencies and non-profits to provide food, job training and programs for people facing homelessness, mental health crises, addiction and child-care dilemmas because of the virus. Orange County has allotted $9 million to help with job placement and re-training programs.

Using $7 million in Orange CARES Act monies, CareerSource Central Florida is assisting 4,000 dislocated workers from the County’s hardest-hit business sectors, including hospitality, restaurant, tourism, transportation and retail.

Aimed at providing workforce re-entry and meaningful careers to Orange County residents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, CareerSource Central Florida is delivering career services including employment support, career development workshops, resume assistance, internships and more. Orange County residents can access services by calling 1-800-757-4598 and or by visiting and registering through careersourcecentralflorida.com.

COVID-19 testing

Orange County Health Services will offer free COVID-19 testing to residents near the Bithlo, Wedgefield and Christmas areas in East Orange County. The team will be at East Orange District Park , located at 22023 E. Colonial Drive in Christmas, this Wednesday, Sept. 30 and  Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ups also welcome. Those 12 and up can be tested with a parent or guardian. Everyone will get free facemasks and hand sanitizer. Visit www.ocfl.net/Testing for these and other testing options.

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