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Tourism Revenue In Orange County Remains At Historic Low

Disney World Magic Kingdom Castle on 7/9/2020

Photo: Allison Varney

Orange County revenue collected from tourism is up from last month, but still at historic low levels.

The county collected $5,158,000 from the tourists development tax last month, down 77 percent compared to last July. Comptroller Phil Diamond said Disney’s reopening in July helped increase the fund said but Orange County continues to see the TDT reserves decrease.

“While reserves are still at a healthy level it’s important to minimize the draw down given the uncertainty of when the tourism industry will recover,” said Diamond.

Orange County suspended work on an expansion of the Orange County Convention Center to help reduce TDT expenditures. Diamond said the pandemic continues to weigh heavily on the tourism industry and unemployment rate in the region.

A federal ban on residential evictions goes into effect Friday in response to the economic downturn and concerns over the spread of coronavirus by people left without a permanent residence. 

The order applies to people who make less than $99,000 a year and who would either be homeless or living with other people if they were evicted.

Orange County mayor Jerry Demings said the order is being challenged in court and tenants still have an obligation to pay rent if they can — and that there are local programs like the county’s COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program to help.

“So far over 1,800 landlords and the same amount of tenants have submitted applications, the claims are being processed,” said Demings. “We have over $20 million in CARES act money allocated to try and stem the tide of the looming evictions within our community.”

Coronavirus cases are declining in Orange County, but leaders are urging residents to use caution over the holiday weekend to help keep cases numbers down.

For the last two weeks the county’s positivity rate averaged 6.5 percent. Orange County Health Official Dr. Raul Pino said he wants it to stay low even with the Labor Day holiday

“Please do not make the mistake that we all make on Memorial Day weekend. Wear your mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands,” said Pino. “We will continue to decrease this and get it under control.”

Memorial Day parties are partly to blame for a spike in cases and deaths back in June and July.

Some 3,646 new cases were reported Thursday statewide. Overall more than 637,000 in Florida.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »