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Orange Task Force Considers More Reopenings As Health Leader Expresses Concern Over Universal Citywalk

Disney World workers protested Florida's unemployment system from their homes across Orlando. Photo credit: Unite Here

A week and a half into the gradual reopening of the local economy, an Orange County task force is looking ahead to phase two. 

Task force members especially are eyeing shuttered amusement parks and health clubs. 

The task force is following a strategy laid out by the Trump administration that is to roll out in phases over several weeks, based on factors like numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths. 

Under the strategy Orange County would not move to phase two until next week at the earliest. Chuck Whittall of Unicorp National Developments Inc., says the timeline is too vague. 

“I think the most frustrating thing for these businesses is not to have any hope. They don’t have any light. They don’t have any idea that phase two is going to be May 22 or June 10 or July 15.” 

Health leaders say the numbers are showing that the coronavirus’ grip in the region appears to be easing, although they caution spikes are inevitable as people get back out and about.

Meanwhile the director of Orange County’s health department is expressing concern about Universal Orlando’s plans to start reopening Citywalk Thursday. 

Dr. Raul Pino spoke during a meeting of a county task force appointed to guide the gradual reopening of the local economy.  

“There are tons of handrails in the parks, and so with that some concerns. And (there) probably would be signs encouraging people not to touch handrails if they don’t have to because it’s impossible to clean it all all the time. It’s just not feasible.” 

Universal Orlando says about a half-dozen restaurants and eateries, along with two retail shops and some merchandise carts, will reopen. 

Next week, Walt Disney World will allow some third-party shops and restaurants in its Disney Springs entertainment district to reopen.


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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »