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Winter Park business owners already feeling the impact of COVID-19

Residents remain positive even with global economic impact from coronavirus

In the wake of the continued spread of coronavirus and in an effort to control it's spread, more and more events in central Florida are facing difficult decisions.

In Winter Park, the city canceled its annual Winter Park sidewalk art festival -- a 60-year event that gathers about 300-thousand people.

“Although it was a very difficult decision to make, knowing how popular this event was, we had to be responsible,” Clarissa Howard, communications director for Winter Park said. “The huge, huge decision factor now is how do we limit the spread? We all want to stop the transmission because we don’t want to overwhelm our healthcare system.”

Residents of Winter Park like Paula Eidel, who has lived in the city for 50 years, think the decision of major events being called off is the smart thing to do, but she does worry about the people being impacted.

"I don't know what else they can do about it. They're saying don't have more than 100 people and keep your social distance," Eidel said. "It's very sad mostly for the artists because they depend on this. This is how they make a living."

Chris Bassil, owner of Park Avenue Smoothie Cafe in Winter Park says most of his clients are students from Rollins college who are going back home after classes on campus were canceled due to the impact of COVID19.

"That's a big impact for me because it's like 40 percent of my business. We cater lots of college kids from Rollins," Bassil said.

Despite the economic impact coronavirus is having globally, Bassil is remaining positive.

"This country we are strong and resilient. We should stay strong and be good to each other and help each other any way we can," Bassil said.

As part of the response in the fight against Coronavirus, governor DeSantis activated the emergency business damage assessment survey--an evaluation of the economic impact the virus has on local businesses so that appropriate relief programs can begin.

Other events canceled throughout the month of March include the Great Duck Derby and advisory board meetings in Winter Park.

For people interested in purchasing paintings, posters, and other merchandise by the artists who were going to attend the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, their information can be found on the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival website.

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