Stimulus plan to help Florida entertainment industry amid calls for more help

Mayor Jerry Demings: “I don’t think Congress is done at this point.”

ORLANDO, Fla. – The stimulus plan singles out several industries for extra financial assistance.

One of those industries is entertainment– the backbone of Central Florida tourism.

Specifically, the plan allocated $15 billion in grant money, which could help theaters and live event venues that lost more than 25 percent of their revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the bill, the money would go to the hardest hit venues first, and it would help pay for payroll, rent, utilities and personal protective equipment – or PPE.

“I don’t think Congress is done at this point,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Demings said he applauded the action happening in Washington, DC, but he said more needs to be done.

“In many ways, the individuals and families -- they need help right now. They can’t wait days, weeks or months. They need help right now,” he said.

Demings pointed to the 4,437 coronavirus tests that were performed over the weekend at Barnett Park.

The tests were made possible through federal CARES Act money, which needs to be spent by next week.

Demings said more of that federal money will need to be approved if Orange County is going to continue to help residents with that testing, preventing evictions, financially helping small businesses and giving money directly to residents who need it.

“Our small businesses are going to continue to struggle,” he said. “If they struggle, families and individuals will continue to struggle.”

According to the bill, several feasibility studies were added as part of the total package legislators voted on.

They include a study that would examine ecosystem restoration and water storage for Shingle Creek and the Kissimmee River in Osceola County.

Another study would examine the same for the St. John’s River and Lake Jessup.

Another study would examine flood control in the Upper St. John’s River Basin.

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.