Osceola County leaders asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to permit vacation rental homes to open under the Phase 1 plan that the state rolled out on Monday.
Co-signed by Osceola Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer, State Representative Mike LaRosa, John Newstreet with the Kissimmee Chamber of Commerce, and DT Minich with Experience Kissimmee, the letter states that the “continued closure of this industry has a ripple effect across our community, and we believe vacation rentals can be safe for travelers because they do not have many of the shared spaces that those staying at hotels share. Vacation rentals can easily provide safer lodging, where social distancing is easier to achieve and risk of spreading the virus is less likely.”
Janer echoed those comments during Friday’s weekly media briefing about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The governor has indicated his willingness to look at issues that might slow efforts to get Florida’s economy moving again and this sector of tourism is significant for Osceola County,” Janer said. “I am optimistic that this request will get consideration, as the downward trend in the percentage of positive cases continues as more testing opportunities for our residents become available and we look ahead to Phase II and our efforts to help our residents recover from the devastating economic effects of this pandemic.”
With nearly 8,000 tests performed, Osceola County is in the target range of 7.1 percent of those tested resulting in positive cases, which is below the entire state’s percentage of 7.6 percent.
Testing will wrap up at the Osceola Heritage Park site on Monday but the Florida Department of Health-Osceola continues localized testing – moving at the Community Hope Center next week, while the Walmart Supercenter on Vineland Road started offering drive up testing Friday.
The Osceola Back to Work Task Force met Friday and spoke at length concerning increasing consumer confidence and education for safely opening businesses. The goal will be to educate both business and the public what safety measures are being followed.
· The County’s Business Damage Assessment survey report had 613 businesses self-reporting $44 million in economic losses. There are 1,472 employees temporarily laid off and 402 permanently laid off due to COVID-19. View on the Osceola County COVID-19 Dashboard.
*Testing information is available at www.osceola.org/covid19testing.
*Testing is available for anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms though the Florida Department of Health next week at the Community Hope Center and the following week at the Robert Guevara Community Center. Call 407-343-2000 for screening and to schedule an appointment.
*Walmart testing in Osceola began Friday. The site (3250 Vineland Road) will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and requires an appointment at www.MyQuestCOVIDTest.com.
*LYNX resumes a full service schedule golynx.com for more info.
*St. Cloud is opening city parks, trails and greenspaces and on Monday the first floor of City Hall Building A, Permitting and St. Cloud Utilities Customer Service offices will reopen.