Get COVID-19 tested before you travel to Orange County for spring break, mayor urges

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orange County mayor is urging people planning to travel to the county for spring break to make sure they’re COVID-19 free before they come.

Mayor Jerry Demings said the county is expecting an influx in visitors this week. But he said spring breakers need to realize the mask mandate is still in place.

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County officials said they would like to see visitors go to one of the free testing sites either at the Orange County Convention Center or at Barnett Park to get tested.

Demings said it’s a delicate balance to keep the economy going and keep residents and visitors from getting sick.

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“We’re inviting, but at the same time we have been able to reengage and reopen our businesses but keep them safe and keep our numbers relatively low,” Demings said.

Hotel tax collections hit rock bottom last April, and have been on a slight incline ever since.

But January was the first month during the pandemic that tax dollars dropped again.

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Comptroller Phil Diamond said it’s disappointing, but not unexpected.

“Compared to last January, the bowl games were all below capacity because of COVID,” Diamond said. “Also this year as compared to last year, we did not have the Pro Bowl.”

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The county won’t know the hotel tax collections for February until next month, but Diamond said he believes there will be a big increase from spring break.

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.