ORLANDO, Fla. – Top financial experts and Orange County’s mayor gathered on Thursday to answer viewer questions about the financial crisis gripping Central Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s sort of like the movie ‘Fight Club,’ where we’re punching ourselves,” said Dr. Sean Snaith of UCF’s Institute of Economic Forecasting.
He participated in a News 6 virtual town hall meeting carried live online.
Pam Nabors, of Career Source of Central Florida, said despite a lot of people losing their jobs, many businesses are actually hiring.
"Many of the jobs are in areas like healthcare, customer service at a contact center, delivery and grocers, and things like that," she said.
[WATCH THE TOWN HALL IN ITS ENTIRETY BELOW]
She said Career Source has a website that shows many job openings, helps those seeking jobs fine-tune their resumes and offers advice for people looking to change careers.
People can also call Career Source at 1-800-757-4598.
She also said there is help for those who are unemployed and looking for assistance, such as help with their electric bills.
Nabors also pointed out the website 211.org, which helps people get more assistance through times of disaster.
Tim Giuliani with Orlando Economic Partnership took a question from a small business owner who was concerned about looking for a loan to keep his business running.
"I think the important thing for small businesses to know is -- now is the time to investigate all of these opportunities, even if you might not ultimately need it," he said.
He said OEP has set up a special website to answer questions for the business community.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced that he met with the heads of local hospitals on Thursday, and they said they are starting to see a reduction in the number of people seeking help and in the number of people in intensive care.
He said he's hopeful that signals an up-turn in the economy, but he cautioned moving too quickly.
"I plan to impanel a group of individuals here locally that will work in partnership with the state, so that there's some uniformity in how we roll that out."
He said he was hopeful some businesses could start reopening by June, but he would have to wait and see what the numbers look like.