COVID-19 - City of Orlando Response - Update #2
Last updated on March 13, 2020
March 16, 2020 – ORLANDO, FL – The City of Orlando continues to take serious actions and a number of measures to suppress the spread of COVID-19 within the community, working together with lead agencies Orange County and the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, to ensure a coordinated response.
Some of these measures include:
Visiting continuity of operation plans to ensure essential city services can be managed and delivered remotely.
Working on plans to allow those employees who can work from home to be able to do so, reducing the core number of city employees needed at each city facility.
Enhancing the ability for residents to request city services or interact with city government remotely, so as to limit their need to visit City Hall or other city facilities.
Limiting in-person meetings and encouraging employees to use phone or video conferencing technology as often as possible.
Temporarily closing public facilities, including city neighborhood, community and recreation centers across the City of Orlando.
More details on these actions include:
City Support for Businesses/Residents
To prevent residents from having to visit city facilities and to aid residents and businesses financially during this difficult time, the city will be suspending fees for late payments of parking citations and red light running fines that are incurred beginning Wednesday, March 18 and at least through the end of the March.
The city will also be returning city park fees or other city fees for canceled activities and events at city facilities.
The following operational changes will be effective Wednesday, March 18, through the end of March, or until further notice.
City Hall & City Facilities
Essential city services will continue, but in-person meetings are strongly discouraged at this time. Please encourage residents and businesses to use the city’s digital services on orlando.gov or request city services by phone.
All neighborhood, community and recreation centers will close to the public at close of business, Friday, March 20, through at least the end of March.
All youth and adult sporting activities and programs are suspended effective immediately until further notice.
Beginning at close of business Friday, March 20, all neighborhood, community and recreation centers will close to the public. A limited number of community centers will remain open to provide limited services like meal service to ensure we support our most vulnerable community only with appropriate social distancing.
The City of Orlando is following direction from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is advising against gatherings of 50 people or more.
The city’s primary goal remains keeping residents and employees safe, while ensuring that there is no interruption in critical municipal services, like police and fire.
At this time, in-person visits or public service counter assistance (including licensing and building permits) is operational. We encourage citizens seek assistance via phone, online or through email when possible. Permit submissions are encouraged to be done online at orlando.gov/permits.
Building inspection services will continue.
The City of Orlando Police Department’s Business Desk at Police Headquarters will remain open, though the city encourages everyone to call 321.235.5300 for non-emergency police assistance and general information.
All Public Works services will remain in place, including refuse collection and street sweeping will follow the usual schedule.
The March 2020 Presidential Preference Primary in the City of Orlando will continue as scheduled with additional sanitation procedures in place. Election Day is Tuesday, March 17th from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm. Find your polling place: ocfelections.com/find-my-polling-place.
Orlando Utilities Commission and TECO Peoples Gas have suspended disconnection of water and wastewater services for non-payment. For more information, contact the utilities directly.
Giving & Receiving Assistance
Heart of Florida United Way 211 Information and Referral Crisis Line is connecting with residents to share information about available resources in the community including locations of nearest food pantries, crisis mental health services, and more. The service is provided 24/7, 365 days a year. Translation services are available around the clock. Residents can connect by dialing 2-1-1 from a phone, texting their zip code to 898211 or by chatting online at HFUW.org/Chat.
The best way to connect those in need to locations in their local community that are distributing food is through the Second Harvest Food Bank’s online food finder tool on their website. Find it here: feedhopenow.org/findfood.
People who want to help and donate food can do this online by starting a virtual food drive. Information can be found here: virtualfooddrive.org. Physical food drives are discouraged at this time to protect the safety of the food chain.
Over the past week, because of fear about the coronavirus, blood centers throughout the country and here in Central Florida, are experiencing a significant drop in donations which is limiting the ability for the nation’s blood supply to be adequately replenished.
The coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives. Blood centers are regulated by the FDA and must follow specific guidelines to ensure safe blood is available for patients at all times.
The FDA has also confirmed that there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus and the virus poses no known risk to patients receiving blood transfusions.
We continue to update the City’s website dedicated to the city’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) at orlando.gov/covid19.