ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Watch our in-depth coverage below:
9:30 p.m. update:
OIA may take years to return to normal, officials say
Orlando International Airport says it will be at least until 2024 before things will get back to what it looked like in 2019, before the pandemic.
To put that in perspective, it took OIA four years to get back to normal after 9/11, and six years after the great recession.
The airport thinks they will see a similar issue to 9/11 because of the fear of flying.
See our full coverage below:
5:30 p.m. update:
Investigation launched into state’s unemployment system
An investigation is being launched into the state’s unemployment system.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered the investigation into CONNECT, the state’s $77.9 million system. The recently announced data breach is expected to be part of it.
Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer says the investigation should also include the current administration’s handling of the system.
See our full coverage below:
3:10 p.m. update:
Orange County Task Force approves Universal Orlando’s plan to reopen to public June 5
The Orange County Task Force has approved Universal Orlando’s plan to reopen to the public on June 5.
The plan will now go to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, and if approved, will be sent on to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval.
2:50 p.m. update:
Universal Orlando proposes reopening to the public on June 5
Officials from Universal Orlando said they hope to reopen their theme parks to the public on June 5.
Officials said the parks would first open to workers on June 1 to test out their reopening plans. Then, they said select guests would be welcomed back on June 3 and 4 ahead.
Officials said their reopening proposal would include managing capacity and ramping up slowly.
The plans include requiring temperature checks for guests and masks to be worn by guests and workers.
The park’s plan will have to get approval from the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force.
2:20 p.m. update:
Universal Orlando expected to present theme park reopening plans to Orange County Task Force
Universal Orlando is expected to present plans to reopen its theme parks to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force this afternoon.
Several theme parks, attractions submit reopening plan
Several businesses around Central Florida have had their reopening plan approved by Orange County officials Thursday morning.
Their plans will next be submitted to the Orange County Task Force at 2 p.m. before going to Mayor Jerry Demings for full endorsement.
The businesses/attractions are:
- Fun Spot America
- ICON Park
- Face Amusement
- K1 Speed: Indoor Kart Racing
- Magical Midway
- Nona Adventure Park
- Sling Shot
- Aloma Bowl
- Andretti Indoor Karting & Games
- Boardwalk Bowl
Florida reports 48 COVID-19 deaths, including 4 in Central Florida, and 1,204 new cases statewide
Florida health officials reported 1,204 new coronavirus cases in the state on Thursday morning as well as 48 more deaths, including four in Central Florida, since Wednesday.
The total number of cases in the state is now 48,675 with 2,144 deaths.
Of the latest deaths reported, two were in Volusia County, one in Flagler County and one in Polk County.
See the latest case numbers by county below:
Orange: 1,726 (1,708 yesterday)
Seminole: 445 (444 yesterday)
Volusia: 630 (618 yesterday)
Brevard: 376 (372 yesterday)
Osceola: 640 (636 yesterday)
Lake: 264 (260 yesterday)
Sumter: 254 (253 yesterday)
Marion: 233 (228 yesterday)
Flagler: 173 (169 yesterday)
Polk: 822 (786 yesterday)
10:30 a.m. update
Food distribution available today in Palm Bay
Farm Share is host a food distribution event in Palm Bay on Thursday.
Food distributions are drive-thru only to minimize contact and ensure the safety of all parties. To obtain food, attendees must arrive in a vehicle with a trunk or cargo bed.
Recipients should expect to receive the following:
- Fresh produce
- Non-perishables canned goods
- Canned proteins
Donations can be made via FarmShare.org or by texting “EAT” to 41-444.
State Rep. Randy Fine is hosting the food distribution event, whuch began at 10 a.m. and will last until supplies run out at 2539 Palm Bay Rd NE Palm Bay, FL 32905.
9:29 a.m. update
Orange County task force members to hold meeting
Orange County tourism leaders will host a meeting at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the county’s economy amid the pandemic.
8:22 a.m. update
CVS to open additional COVID-19 testing sites in Florida
CVS Health is expanding its COVID-19 testing program in Florida by opening 37 additional test sites at select CVS drive-thru locations across the state beginning Friday.
CVS already opened 10 testing locations in the state on May 15.
Some of the additional testing sites in Central Florida can be located at:
- 906 Blanding Boulevard, Orange Park, FL 32065
- 5899 South Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32839
- 8025 Lee Vista Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32829
- 839 North Orlando Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789
- 5650 Red Bug Lake Road, Winter Springs, FL 32708
- 5208 East CR 466, The Villages, FL 34484
A complete list of CVS COVID-19 drive-thru locations can be found here.
6:45 a.m. update
Volusia County campsites to partially reopen
Volusia County’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Division is set to reopen eight of its campsites with limited capacity today.
The following campsites will reopen at 50% capacity:
- Candace R. Strawn/Lake Dias Park in DeLeon Springs
- Gemini Springs Park in DeBary
- Lake Ashby Park in New Smyrna Beach
- Lake Monroe Park in DeBary
One group of 10 people or fewer will be allowed to camp in each of the following county preserves:
- Hickory Bluff Preserve in Osteen
- Lake George Forest and Wildlife Management Area in Pierson
- Longleaf Pine Preserve in DeLand and New Smyrna Beach
- Wiregrass Prairie Preserve in Osteen
4:32 a.m. update
Orange County theme parks to begin submitting reopening plans
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said he expects Disney, SeaWorld and Universal to submit their full reopening plans later today at a task force meeting.
Demings said the parks will most likely all do some sort of a phased reopening.
He also anticipates masks will be required.
SeaWorld is looking into what it would be like to ride their rollercoasters with masks.
According to a theme park insider Channel 9 reached out to, the test runs at SeaWorld have been successful.
The mayor says once the theme parks give him their proposals, he’d visit each site with his team. He’d then decide whether to accept the plan before sending it to Gov. Ron DeSantis for final approval.
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