‘It’s chaos:’ COVID testing lines at Econ Soccer Complex burden nearby businesses

Econ Soccer Complex testing site opened Dec. 27

ORLANDO, Fla. – As long lines for Orange County’s COVID-19 testing site at the Econ Soccer Complex spill out onto Colonial Drive, businesses say cars are blocking their entrances, causing frustration for customers and employees.

“It’s chaos, people honking at each other,” said Johnny Jimenez Jr., a sales rep at Price Buster Appliances. “It’s horrible for everybody’s business.”

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Jimenez said while drivers are waiting hours on end, their patience is sometimes shorter than the distance between bumpers.

“They think I’m cutting them off, sometimes I have to roll down my window and say ‘Listen, I work there,” he said. “A lot of people call me on the phone telling me they can’t get in.”

Down the road, the owner at Best Motors of Florida dealership set out cones to help keep his driveway clear.

Next door, at the Santiago and Friends Family Center for Autism, employees there changed locations last week because of the testing line troubles.

“We had to relocate to our other location because you can see that the line is all the way on the right lane where we pull in, it’s dangerous for workers and parents to navigate around the cars,” said registered behavioral therapist Samantha Goldfarb.

Both businesses mentioned they’d like the opportunity to put out signs along their corridor to ask drivers not to block the driveway, but said they don’t want to get ticketed by code enforcement.

“If they [county] would allow us to put signs and not block the driveways, at least something that we can go back and forth, that’s all we are asking for,” Jimenez added.

News 6 emailed Orange County for a response to the businesses’ request.

“At this point, we are trying to provide residents with access to testing given the great need in our community.  We have signs along the roadways asking people not to block the driveways and entrances. As for permission for businesses to set up additional signage along S.R. 50 -- that is an inquiry that would have to be routed to FDOT as they oversee permitting along that roadway,” wrote Despina McLaughlin, a spokesperson for Orange County.

News 6 then reached out to the Florida Department of Transportation late Wednesday afternoon, and we are still waiting for a response.