I know the past two months have been a very challenging time for everyone, especially with the unknown of when business will return to normal. However, I cannot thank you enough for the sacrifices you and your family have made over the past several weeks to help in slowing the spread of this deadly disease. The care you have shown for your fellow co-workers and our residents is not only an inspiration, but also serves as a testament of your commitment to public service and the betterment of our community.
I applaud you for adapting quickly to our need to be creative on how we deliver critical services and keep safety a top priority. I know a portion of our workforce is unable to telework due to the nature of the jobs performed, but we were able to find flexible solutions when possible. Every department and function is unique, and changes to operations look different within each department. For those employees who are still coming into work and interacting with the public or other staff in close proximity, please continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and take protective measures.
Employees who are able to telework from home are contributing significantly to the County’s ability to limit the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of individuals who occupy our public facilities and workspaces. Your adaptability and willingness to telework or stagger the times you physically report to the workplace promotes everyone’s continued health and safety by consistently maintaining safe social distancing. I am pleased departments have demonstrated exceptional flexibility in promoting employee telework opportunities where possible, all while continuing to deliver uninterrupted services to our residents. County employees who are able to work remotely will continue to telework until further notice.
Reopening Orange County Government
Orange County Government’s Internal Task Force is made up of representatives from each department. They are assessing how and when we can return to normal business operations in the safest way possible for both employees and residents. This Task Force is actively developing appropriate and deliberate plans, measures and safety protocols to guide reopening County facilities to the public.
Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis issued
Executive Order 20-112
regarding the first phase of Florida’s Recovery Plan. This order went into effect May 4, 2020. I also issued a new
Executive Order 2020-12
effective May 4, 2020, regarding the reopening of Orange County, as well as further stressing the practice of social distancing by staying at least six feet apart and using face masks. The Executive Order also states that groups of more than 10 people are not permitted to congregate unless appropriate social distancing and protective measures can be followed. Additionally, after consulting with the sheriff and police chiefs, we have decided to keep Orange County’s curfew in effect through next week. We will reassess after that time.
Orange County’s Economic Recovery Task Force
has conducted more than a dozen general and working group virtual meetings over the past week, assessing and developing a plan to restart our local economy in the safest ways possible. I support and approve the Task Force’s recommended guidelines for reopening businesses in all industries, which are listed below:
- Practice social distancing
- Stay home when feeling sick
- Wear a protective face covering
- Conduct health screenings
- Sanitize and wash hands frequently
- High-risk individuals should shelter and work from home, when possible
- Temperature checks for all staff; if they have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, they must go home
It is encouraging to see that 93 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Orange County have fully recovered. However, 10 percent of all positive cases in our County are from individuals who are asymptomatic – so it is important to stay vigilant. Since this pandemic has impacted our community, one of my main goals has been to expand testing availability, and we continue to do so throughout the County.
to learn about the variety of testing options available. Many sites are free or have no out-of-pocket expense. In addition, most testing sites do not require any symptom criteria. Increased testing is critical to ensuring individuals become aware of being positive so they can take the appropriate precautions and protect themselves, as well as others.
Thank you, again, for your continued support as we all work through the obstacles and challenges presented by COVID-19. I encourage you to watch our news conferences and visit the
COVID-19 Employee Resource page
for the latest updates and information related to the pandemic.