Curfew in effect for Orange, Osceola counties as coronavirus cases increase

Officials with Orange and Osceola counties announced a nightly, countywide curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Friday night.

In Orange County, the Sheriff’s Office will be enforcing the curfew, Mayor Jerry Demings said. Health workers and first responders are exempt.

The curfew, however, does not affect LYNX services, which is considered an essential service to the community. It will continue to operate all services as scheduled, the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority said.

Read: Coronavirus and business: What the CDC wants you to know

In addition to the curfew, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Friday directing all restaurants to suspend all dine-in food and alcohol consumption inside establishments. However, restaurants can continue to operate through takeout or delivery.

At SoCo Thornton Park, seats were flipped up onto the bar and the dining room was empty -- not your typical Friday night, but these are not typical times.

“We knew that it was almost inevitable,” owner Ryan Rougeux said. “We definitely appreciate those supporting people by coming out to eat right now and taking care of the small businesses that are really hurting.”

Several people called Eyewitness News about Johnny’s Other Side, where there were people seen drinking alcohol on the premises. A person behind the bar said they were closing up, and directed us to speak with the general manager on Monday.

Read: 8 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Seminole County; sheriff reports 40% reduction in crime as residents stay home

DeSantis also ordered all gyms to be closed in the state.

“The members are bummed, but I think, in the name of the greater good and public health and fighting this disease, we have to do what we have to do,” owner Robert Grabowski said.

There are now 23 cases of the coronavirus in Orange County, Demings said, up from the 14 reported a few days ago. Of those cases, 19 are residents.

A person who stayed at the Orlando Coalition for the Homeless Thursday night also tested positive for the coronavirus, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said during a news conference, but he had no further details.

“We’re extremely concerned about the homeless population and how quickly it could spread,” Dyer said.

See the full Orange County press conference below:

Coronavirus Pandemic: Orange County Update

Orange County leaders enacted a curfew to deal with the conronavirus. It begins Firday, March 20, at 11 p.m., and will last until further notice. Story: https://at.wftv.com/3bflwKi

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Friday, March 20, 2020

Check back and watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates on this developing story.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.