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Mayor Demings: Governor's order was 'hypocritical'; Orange County to receive $272M in relief through American Rescue Plan


Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says the governor's order reversing local fines against businesses that violated coronavirus restrictions is "somewhat hypocritical."

In the same order, Gov. Ron DeSantis upholds state fines.

Demings says the county acted decisively to protect its people while DeSantis was slow to act. But he pledges to keep working with the state on plans to provide in-home vaccinations in underserved neighborhoods.

"What I’m simply saying here is this that I’m not willing to sacrifice the health and safety of our community for politics, as some have clearly done," Demings said during Thursday's county update.

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Orange County teams have made more than 9,000 COVID-19 inspections

The county added the fine in December in response to soaring numbers. Since then, 156 businesses were warned and 28 fined. 

Demings says the county achieved 99 percent compliance, leading to a lower positivity rate.

And the teams will continue to make their unannounced visits.

Federal relief funding on the way

Demings says the county will receive nearly $272 million in relief funds from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that President Joe Biden signed into law on Thursday.

"We're looking forward to once again using that money to help our hardest hit individuals and businesses in Orange County," Demings said.

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The city of Orlando will receive a separate amount.

Demings says he will wait for guidance from the Treasury Department and then bring a plan to the County Commission.


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.