Orange County mayor declares local state of emergency, urges all to wear masks indoors

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings declared a state of local emergency on Wednesday due to surging COVID-19 cases.

He also announced that he is urging everyone to wear a mask indoors immediately.

“We have to take immediate action,” Demings said.


READ: ‘We are now in crisis mode’: Orange County reporting 1,000 new COVID cases daily

The move comes the day after the county reported its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. In Orange County, 1,371 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Demings said he hopes residents and visitors will comply with the request to wear masks indoors to stop the spread of the virus.

READ: 9 things you need to know about the COVID-19 delta variant

Demings said he also hopes that businesses large and small will begin to once again require face maks indoors in line with the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If we pull together, we can prevent a collapse of our economy,” he said.

READ: CDC mask recommendations: Is your county a ‘high transmissibility’ area?

Read Demings’ full executive order below:

Demings also said Wednesday that he is also requiring Orange County employees to wear masks inside county buildings. And he said all non-union employees will be required to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine by the end of August. He said they must be fully vaccinated by the end of September unless they have a legally defensible reason to not receive the shot.

That announcement comes days after Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph announced that vaccination against COVID-19 will become a requirement for all employees.

READ: Orange County Tax Collector standing behind decision to require COVID vaccines for employees

The Orange-Osceola County State Attorney’s Office said they are strongly encouraging vaccinations, but not making them mandatory at this time. A spokesperson said masks are required indoors for both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said there are no plans to mandate vaccinations for personnel, but that Sheriff John Mina is strongly encouraging deputies to get their shots.

Stay tuned to Channel 9 Eyewitness News for updates.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

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.