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Orange County to use CARES Act funds to help laid-off Disney workers

Mayor Demings said the county still has about $56 million of the $243 million the county received from the CARES Act

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said on Thursday he will reopen the county’s Individual and Family Assistance Program in response to massive layoffs at Walt Disney World.

Demings said to date, the program has assisted 30,000 residents, totaling $30 million.

Chris Turnage said on Thursday, he received a call from Disney, telling him that he was being let go.

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“Unfortunately, I was on that proverbial list and got my call today,” said Turnage. “It will affect us. My wife thankfully is still working, but obviously, there are bills to pay. We are down to one income.”

Turnage said that he worked as a manager at one of Disney World’s resorts and had been with the company for eight years.

“You could tell they understood the weight of what they were saying and what was going on and I’m sure it was not fun for them to have to make that call either. Nobody wants to be on either end of that conversation,” Turnage said.

Demings said that the county still has about $56 million of the $243 million the county received from the CARES Act. He said the 6,700 newly unemployed workers from Walt Disney World will add a significant amount of need in the county.

“For me, it was sad news because some of those individuals who are laid off, they are friends, they are family, they are acquaintances. They are residents of our community,” Demings said.

Demings did not say how much money will be allocated for the Individual and Family Assistance Program, adding an official announcement will be made on Monday.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer also told News 6 during a press conference the Walt Disney World layoffs are another example of why lawmakers in the nation’s capital need to pass another COVID-19 relief bill.


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