Dear Orange County Team –

Fall is officially here and the weather has already started to cool down a little bit. This is the perfect time to start venturing back out to Orange County parks, which now have their playgrounds open to the public. Keeping safety top of mind, we ask that no more than 10 children be on the playground at a time. You can also use the trails and open areas of our parks to train for and even complete the Virtual IOA Corporate 5K November 12 through November 15. This new virtual format allows you to run the 5K on your own time, at your own pace, wherever you want. Register today!

Phase 3 Re-opening
As you may already know, on Friday, Governor DeSantis issued an Executive Order allowing the state of Florida to enter Phase 3 of re-opening from the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this Phase, restaurants, pubs, bars, gyms and fitness centers will be able to operate without restrictions. However, all businesses must follow sanitation and social distancing protocols.

Orange County’s Executive Order mandating facial coverings is still in effect. The County’s legal and emergency management teams are evaluating the Governor’s Executive Order to help determine the impact on residents. 

Hispanic Heritage
Hispanic Heritage month officially kicked off on September 15 and goes through October 15 and recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture and achievements of our nation. Every year, our Hispanic Heritage Committee of Greater Orange County hosts its signature kick-off celebration to mark the start of Hispanic Heritage month, with the goal of bringing our community together to recognize the vibrancy and richness of Hispanic culture. Due to the pandemic, the committee has turned to alternative methods for honoring the month-long celebration, which includes featuring Hispanic Artists on social media. The month long celebration will culminate with the Hispanic Youth Leadership Awards on October 15. The event will live stream on Vimeo.

Census
The deadline to respond to the Census survey is Wednesday, September 30. I cannot express enough how important this data is to our community and the social service programs dependent on an accurate Census count for funding. This information will impact the amount of funding received for the next decade. You can complete the online survey at 2020census.gov.

myOCWellness
September 30 is also the deadline for you and/or your spouse to earn at least 70 myOCWellness points, which will result in a reduction toward 2021 Cigna medical insurance premiums per pay period. Visit www.ocfl.net/myOCWellness for more information. If you have any questions or need assistance, please email wellness@ocfl.net.

Voting
We are less than two months from the general election, which takes place on November 3! Your voice matters. If you’re not registered to vote, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Early voting starts on Monday, October 19.

Employee Service Awards
Recently, I was honored to join the Board of County Commissioners in recognizing employees for their dedicated service to the County in our third Curbside Employee Service Award ceremony. These events are becoming highly anticipated not only for those being honored, but also by their fellow coworkers, managers and families. It is a great way to celebrate an incredible milestone in our employees’ careers while also social distancing and staying safe. This past ceremony included Senior Public Information Officer Kelly Finkelstein and Forensic Senior Program Manager Sheri Blanton who have both remained with the same division throughout their County careers. You can read more about the honorees here.

I am grateful to work with so many talented and dedicated people. Thank you for all you do to ensure our community remains the best place to live.
Jerry L. Demings, Orange County Mayor signature