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From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Shut Downs and Social Distancing puts severe strain on Orlando’s service based economy

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Photo: Adobe Images, Orlandoweekly.com

In recent years, there’s been a move to present Orlando as more than just the theme parks. Travel articles in publications from Bon Appétit to the New York Times have extolled the virtues of “the other Orlando.” And the main driver of this praise has been our restaurant scene.

Orlando’s diverse population brings together flavors from around the world, from Brazilian to Vietnamese to Ethiopian. From Restaurant Row to Milk District food trucks, downtown Winter Park to the melting pot of Mills 50, we serve cuisines of every type and price point.

Right now, both Orlandos are suffering as the city shuts down in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. With the theme parks closed through the end of March and possibly longer, and social distancing rules in effect, the strain on our city’s service-based economy will be severe.

Not just restaurant owners but servers, bartenders, and local meat and produce purveyors will suffer. Food prep and food service jobs make up 10 percent of Florida’s workforce.

We can all help by supporting local businesses. Restaurants are the heart of our community, and we all want to see them still standing when this is over.

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