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Univeral's New Theme Park Delayed; Orange County Mayor Charts Careful Reopening; County COVID-19 Victims Skew Younger: Your Coronavirus Update For 04/30

Matthew Peddie

Coronavirus delays Universal's new theme park "Epic Universe"

Brendan Byrne, WMFE

Universal Orlando is delaying construction of its newest theme park Epic Universe due to coronavirus.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says the park construction is delayed for at least a year, but not all construction will halt.

"They're going to continue with $300 million plus worth of construction that is really underway at this time. In terms of the impact on our economy, there still will be robust construction activity, centered around that development itself," said Demings

 That includes road construction and site development around the new park. 

The new Epic Universe park is located a few miles from Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. It was slated to open in 2023 before coronavirus concerns shutdown the company’s theme parks -- halting cash flow for the new project.

Orange County Mayor says reopening will be careful

Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says reopening business will be done carefully. 

Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis outlined reopening plans beginning next week, including opening restaurants and retail stores at reduced capacity. 

Demings is expected to respond today to the governor’s reopening plan.

“How we reopen Orange County must be done with extreme care," said Demings.

"The issue with this disease is the explosive way with which it spreads, we do not want to open too quickly without a solid plan in place with countermeasures to keep employees and our residents safe.”

Demings said his goal is to reduce the likelihood of a resurgence of coronavirus. 

Orange County coronavirus deaths skewing younger

The director of the Orange County public health department says the county is in a good position as more testing is done for coronavirus. 

Dr. Raul Pino said that in the last fourteen days, new cases have declined and hospitalizations have dropped too. 

But he said there are still some worrying trends. 

“The people who are dying are getting a little bit younger. And I have to try to find out what is behind that, what is accounting for that, and compare it to other counties.”

Dr. Pino said the county is also working to target small outbreaks with a mobile lab.

"We are going to develop ...a mobile unit, very small, which has the capacity of doing about 50 tests at any time. With that we will have the ability to move into outbreaks in smaller areas," said Pino.

Orange county's COVID-19 death toll stands at 33. A 52 year old Clermont police officer is among the victims.

The county has 1,371 cases and 272 hospitalizations. The peak of new cases was on April 1st, when 106 new cases were reported. 

For more of WMFE's coronavirus coverage click here.

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