Alert:

For information regarding the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), please click here

Local Updates and Resources


Local Updates:


Local Testing Sites

  • Testing sites are run by FEMA and the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

  • Criteria: Anyone with an on-site temperature above 99.6 and respiratory symptoms or a pre-existing condition. Additionally, all first responders and heath care workers, regardless of symptoms.

    • Drive-thru at Orange County Convention Center North Concourse Parking Lot (9400 Universal Blvd Orlando, FL 32819). For more information, please visit here.

    • East Orange County - By appointment only, call (407) 723-5004 Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm. 

    • UCF Garage A (1291 University Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816) - By appointment only, call (855) 282-4860 Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm. For more information, please visit here.

    • AdventHealth drive-thru at Mall at Millenia (4200 Conroy Rd, Orlando, FL 32839), seven days a week from 9 am - 2 pm. For more information, please visit here. (Note: There will be no out-of-pocket costs, regardless of insurance status for this drive-thru location. AdventHealth will cover the cost for those who are uninsured. Those who are symptomatic and wish to be tested should visit AdventHealthCoronaVirusTesting.com prior to arrival.)

Orange County Stay-At-Home Order

  • Mayor Demings issued a stay-at-home-order for all Orange County residents effective March 25, 2020 at 11pm until April 9th at 11pm.

  • The order means that the entirety of Orange County is ordered to stay at home as much as possible, with exceptions for businesses and travel deemed “essential.”

  • The order applies to all individuals within Orange County. Unless you work for an essential business or are doing an essential activity, you must stay home. The order is mandatory.

  • Individuals can travel to and from grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, doctor’s offices, healthcare facilities and other essential businesses. However, once these locations have been visited, residents need to go home. While inside these businesses, continue practicing social distancing.

  • The Orange County Sheriff’s Office will enforce the order. The Sheriff’s Office does not intend to use the order as a mechanism for making arrests. The purpose of the order is to get residents in the right frame of mind to act responsibly for their health and the health of their families by staying in their homes whenever possible.

  • You should not visit family or friends unless there is an urgent need (e.g., providing food, caretaking, medical reasons, etc.). Otherwise, stay at home. Continue to check on your loved ones electronically – by phone, text, FaceTime, email, etc.

  • You can run, walk and ride your bike outside. Outdoor exercise is acceptable. However, gyms and fitness centers will remain closed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Seminole County Social Distancing Order

Effective Monday, March 30, 2020 at 12:00a.m., Seminole County's Social Distancing Order allows businesses to remain open pending the following conditions: 

  • All employees and patrons must practice social distancing by staying at least six (6) feet apart;

  • Group meeting and/or training sizes must be limited to ten (10) people or less;

  • Limit occupancy to 30% of the maximum allowable capacity under the fire code, for non-residential, non-medical, and non-lodging uses; and

  • Checkout points and staging areas, including store fronts, must be monitored for social distancing requirements by means of marking floors or similar actions to maintain six (6) feet distance between customers.


Evictions

  • Orange County Sheriff John Mina, announced that "because of the State of Emergency related to Coronavirus, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office will temporarily suspend all eviction activities until further notice”. 

  • Evictions, foreclosures and almost all in-person court hearings have been suspended in Seminole county amidst the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Wednesday order from the 18th Judicial Circuit.  

Orange County and Seminole County Rent Assistance

  • In response to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic, Heart of Florida United Way has established a fund to support Central Florida residents whose financial stability is being impacted. 

  • Heart of Florida United Way has made an initial investment of $100,000 to seed the fund. 

  • Specifically for residents of Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, the ALICE Fund provides rent, mortgage and utility assistance to help prevent eviction and homelessness. 

  • Clients must demonstrate financial need by presenting documentation including but not limited to bank statements, pay stubs, rent agreements, utility bills, etc. 

  • For those seeking assistance, contact Heart of Florida United Way’s 211 Information and Referral Crisis Line by dialing 2-1-1, or texting your zip code to 898211.

Orange County Public Schools Free Grab-and-Go Meals

  • The Orange County Mayor’s “Stay-at-Home” Order will not impact the Grab and Go free meal program for children 18 years old and under.

  • Grab-and-Go meals will be available for pick-up between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the car loop of each school site. 

  • Students must be present to receive the meals. 

  • District staff will distribute the meals directly to those in their vehicle (drive-thru service). 

  • Meals will be given directly to any students walking and/or riding a bike. 

  • Click here for school pick-up location information.

  • Floridians can text FLKIDSMEALS to 211-211 to find their closest participating school lunch location, and can also call 2-1-1 to speak with a live operator 24 hours a day for additional locations.

  • Lynx is offering FREE bus service to all children & their parents going to/from OC Public Schools Grab-and-Go food locations

Seminole County Public Schools Free Grab-and-Go Meals

  • Grab-and-Go meals will be available for pick-up between 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. in the car loop of each school site. 

  • District staff will distribute the meals directly to those in their vehicle (drive-thru service) upon arrival.  

  • In addition, district staff will hand-out meals directly to any walkers and/or bike riders that may lack motor-vehicle transportation.

  • Click here for school pick-up location information.

  • Floridians can text FLKIDSMEALS to 211-211 to find their closest participating school lunch location, and can also call 2-1-1 to speak with a live operator 24 hours a day for additional locations.

Mental Health Assistance 

  • Aspire Health Partners is offering a dedicated telephone line to assist residents with mental health concerns related to COVID-19. Residents can call the helpline to be connected with a caring mental health professional. For more information please call 407-875-3700 ext. 2 or click here for more information.  

  •  Coronavirus Sanity Guide: In times like these, we need practical, actionable ways of coping with stress, fear, and anxiety. The meditations, podcasts, blog posts, and talks on this page will help you build resilience and find some calm amidst the chaos. 

  • Florida Blue: Licensed clinicians are available to speak to anyone in Florida free of charge in both English and Spanish, including those who do not have insurance or have coverage with another health plan. The emotional support line can be reached at 833-848-1762. 

  • Crisis Text Line: Text from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor. Every texter is connected with a Crisis Counselor, a real-life human being trained to bring texters from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening and collaborative problem solving. Free, confidential 24/7 support with a Crisis Counselor: Text “HOME” to 741741. 

  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness. For more information call 1-800-273-8255.  

Domestic Violence

  • Harbor House of Central Florida: This nonprofit provides emergency shelter for families in crisis, as well as counseling, legal advocacy and other services. Pets accepted. 24 Hour Crisis Hotline: 407-886-2856 | Email: contactus@harborhousefl.com 

  • SafeHouse of Seminole: Provides emergency shelter, personal and legal advocacy, counseling services, crisis intervention, and youth and community prevention education, among other services. 24 Hour Hotline: 407-330-3933

  • Victim Service Center: This certified rape crisis center in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties serves victims of sexual assault, violent crime and traumatic circumstances through free and confidential crisis intervention, therapy, advocacy and outreach. For victims of any type of trauma, Victim Service Center provides confidential care. Modifications have been made due to COVID-19, but most programming is still available. 24 Hour Hotline: 407-500-4325 or text (8am-5pm): 407-497-6701

Useful Links


Information for Employers:

I want to inform you about some federal and state resources already available to small businesses seeking assistance, and more help is on the way. If you own a small business hurt by coronavirus, here is some information that can help.

Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program

  • The federal government recently passed legislation that deemed coronavirus a disaster, permitting the Small Business Administration to administer the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

  • Florida has been formally approved to make the EIDL program available for the state’s small businesses that experience economic injury from coronavirus. 

  • EIDL can provide up to $2 million of financial assistance (actual loan amounts are based on amount of economic injury) to small businesses or private, non-profit organizations that suffer substantial economic injury as a result of the declared disaster.

  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

  • The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits.

  • Interested businesses should click here to apply.

  • For information in Spanish, please click here.

  • For application assistance visit www.sba.gov/disaster, call 1-800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Timeline for EIDL Applications

  • EIDL loan application processing and approval takes on average 2-3 weeks, with an additional 5 days for the closing and first payment.

  • Applicants’ credit will be reviewed and that will be a factor in loan approval and loan amount determination

  • Once approved, EIDL recipients can defer payment on the loan for 12 months

  • Once approved, small businesses are able to apply through the SBA’s web portal - 95% of all applications are completed online. SBA district offices can help with getting paper copies/otherwise help those without internet access complete an application. SBA District Offices Information found here.

  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years.

  • Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

  • If initially rejected, applicants can reapply. They would have 6 months to reapply. SBA is working to provide support for applicants to ensure success of their application.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

  • The bridge loan program provides short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from coronavirus.

  • Florida small businesses with two to 100 employees that suffered an economic loss can apply for up to a $50,000 interest-free loan with a one-year term.

  • The application period is open and runs through May 8, 2020.

  • Interested businesses should click here for more information.

Tax Filing Season Update

  • In response to the coronavirus crisis, the IRS has announced changes to the 2020 tax season.

  • All taxpayers have a 90-day extension on the deadline for filing their tax returns this year, postponing the due date to July 15, 2020, because of the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Individuals who owe up to $1 million in federal income tax (or estimated federal income tax) now have a 90-day extension to pay their balance without worry of being charged late payment penalties or interest.

  • If you cannot file a return by that date, you can request an extension by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, for an automatic extension until October 15, 2020. 

  • The form is available on IRS.gov, as well as additional information on filing for an extension.

Useful Links for Employers


Information for Employees:

As the coronavirus outbreak grinds American life to a halt, many central Floridians are rightfully concerned about their economic security. Our hardworking neighbors who bring Florida’s tourism economy to life will be especially hard hit. In fact, Florida could lose more than 350,000 jobs in leisure, hospitality and retail by the end of the summer. During times of uncertainty, especially the current unprecedented battle against a global pandemic, unemployment insurance is a crucial safety net.

What is Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment Insurance (UI) provides temporary cash benefits to workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, while they search for a new one. Each state administers its own program but follows federal guidelines. Recently, I voted to pass emergency relief efforts to shore up some of the weak spots and increase flexibility for those affected by the pandemic. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, among many other provisions, allocated an extra $1 billion dollars for UI offices to handle the new influx of claims and to expand their UI coverage to as many people as possible.

You may be wondering whether you qualify for help. Here’s what you need to know about how Florida’s Florida Reemployment Assistance program works and how you can apply for benefits.

Eligibility

You must meet three eligibility requirements to collect unemployment insurance in Florida:

  • Your past earnings must meet certain minimum thresholds.

  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by Florida law.

Coronavirus Eligibility

  • Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or government agency.

  • Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by employer due to COVID-19.

  • Those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Amount and Duration

The amount of benefits also varies per individual. A rough estimate of expected benefits would be half of an individual's previous full-time wages, up to a maximum of $275 per week. You can receive benefits for anywhere between 12 to 23 weeks, depending on Florida's current unemployment rate.  

Application

You must file your claim for benefits online. You can do so by clicking this link or visiting FloridaJobs.org.

How to Appeal a Denial of Unemployment Benefits in Florida

If your claim for unemployment benefits is denied, you may file an appeal within 20 days after the date the determination was mailed to you. You may file online, by mail, or by fax. After receiving your appeal request, the agency will schedule a telephone hearing and mail you a packet of information to help you prepare. Following the hearing, the appeals referee will decide on your case and mail the decision to you.

Local, state, and federal government must work in lockstep to protect hardworking Americans and their families during this period of uncertainty. My office is ready to assist you as we navigate the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Other Resources


How To Help:

  • Looking for a way to help those financially impacted by COVID-19? The ALICE FUND supports families who are having trouble paying their rent, utilities and other basic needs during the crisis. Learn how you can contribute to the ALICE FUND.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank helps feed residents in our community who need support and is seeking assistance from the community. Learn how you can help.
  • Blood donations are in need now more than ever. OneBlood is seeking donors and its big red buses are visiting different locations throughout the community. View OneBlood locations
  • The Seniors First’s program Meals on Wheels needs volunteers to deliver nutritious meals to homebound seniors. Unfortunately, many of the volunteers at Meals on Wheels are unable to deliver meals – as many are seniors themselves.

  • More than 200 volunteers deliver 4,190 meals to nearly 500 recipients each week in the greater Orlando area. That’s 800 to 1,000 meals delivered each day.  If you can volunteer or know someone who can, please visit www.SeniorsFirst.org for more information. 

     
 

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