ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – In the past week, Florida saw a drop in new COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations. The numbers appear to be heading in the right direction and county leaders said they want to keep it that way.
With both St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break crowds expected this week, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said people still need to take precautions.
“It’s like playing Russian roulette with your own life,” Demings said. “Not all of our seniors have been inoculated at this point. And not only can spread the virus to seniors, but you can spread the virus to anyone.”
Tim Boldig oversees Orange County’s STRIKE teams that inspect businesses. He said this past weekend, 18 businesses were inspected and five of them were not in compliance with the county’s COVID-19 emergency order.
“Everybody is antsy to kind of get back out there. We want people to get out there, but we want to make sure it’s a safe environment,” Boldig said.
After Gov. Ron DeSantis threw out all fines issued by local governments to businesses, Boldig said that his inspectors have law enforcement backup.
“Especially when we go in the later activities like night clubs and so forth, we have the sheriff’s office with us, so that may deter a little bit of that activity,” Boldig said.
Dr. Raul Pino with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said that that it’s his understanding the theme parks expect to reach capacity during the next couple of weeks and is hopeful the county won’t see a spike in cases.
“That means an influx of people coming into the county and that’s why it’s important to continue to hear preventive measures in place because we are getting to a very good place right now,” Pino said.
Orange County said there is a 99% compliance rate with businesses it inspects.