Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Updates

Last updated Friday, July 10, at 1:30 PM

Latest News

On Thursday, July 9, the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County announced that it will continue COVID-19 testing at Osceola Heritage Park through July 17. Scroll all the way down for more details and for a full list of local testing sites.

On Monday, June 29 the School District of Osceola County announced their Ready. Set. Start Smart. reopening plan for fall. Parents are asked to visit their website and indicate their learning preference by July 15.

Please check back with this page regularly as we update the information below.

Updates For and About Our Members

Please fill out our Business Impact Survey at this link.

Chamber Livestream Info Series on Facebook
The Chamber has been live every Wednesday since April 1 at 9:30 am on the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber Facebook page with insights on topics important to businesses and our community as we navigate COVID-19. Video of the livestreams remain available on Facebook, our website, and on our YouTube channel for those who missed these resources.

Beginning July 1, we launched our virtual “15 Minutes” series live on Facebook on Wednesday mornings. This series of 15-minutes conversations and presentations will be similar to the previous one, but not exclusively focused on COVID-19-related issues. Find our first conversation with Congressman Darren Soto on our YouTube page.

Events & Meetings
Join us for an in-person First Friday event for the month of July. However, in observance of the July 4th holiday on July 3, this first Friday will actually take place on Thursday, July 2 at Rock & Brews. Join us any time between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. Chamber President John Newstreet will be there to hear your concerns, answer your questions, and learn how you are doing. To adhere to social distancing, space will be limited and attendees must register here.

If you belong to a leads group, please check with the president of your leads group for updates. Inquire with cpilkington@kissimmeechamber.com regarding Area Council board meeting.

Other Info From and For Our Members
Resources for staying mentally healthy during COVID-19.
Join an industry-specific Facebook group.

Resources for Businesses

The Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber has collected a series of resources for you and your business to aid you as you navigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our business community.

Resources for Reopening

Governor’s Executive Order on Reopening Business
Read the full order.
See the governor’s reopening PowerPoint.
Find a handy FAQ here.
See Full Phase I here.

Federal Plan to Reopen
The White House has shared Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. In addition, the CDC has issued activities and initiatives supporting the COVID-19 response and the President’s plan for opening up America again.

Guides for Reopening Your Business
The National Retail Federation and Retail Industry Leaders Association put together this Blueprint for Shopping Safe.
The National Restaurant Association put out this Reopening Guidance for the restaurant industry.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association has developed Industry-Wide Advanced Cleaning Standards as part of their Safe Stay initiative.
Orlando Health has created a site dedicated to reopening your business safely.
Cleaning Guidelines for COVID-19 from the Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals and Vacation Rental Management Association.
The CDC has issued guidance for Communities of Faith.
Global event company PSAV released the following “meet safe guidelines” for large scale meetings and events.
The Florida SBDC has prepared Tips to Prepare for Reopening your business and a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for Reopening Worksheet you can use for your business.

PPE Supply
The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force has announced that they will provide personal protection equipment (PPE) to small businesses in Orange County. If your business is located in Orange County and you are in need of PPE, follow these steps.

Loans & Business Assistance

Osceola County Grant Program
Osceola County is now offering a grant program for small businesses in Osceola County affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit weveopenedsafely.com for more information and to apply for grant funds.

PPP Loan Forgiveness Update
The SBA and US Department of the Treasury have made revisions to the PPP loan forgiveness process. If you have received a PPP loan and wish to apply for forgiveness, find the updated loan forgiveness instructions here, and the updated application here.For your convenience, the US Chamber has created a guide to PPP loan forgiveness.

City of St. Cloud COVID-19 Grants
The City of St. Cloud has developed two grants for small businesses and nonprofits. Both are for businesses and organizations located within the geographic boundary of St. Cloud, or meet other certain qualifications.

St. Cloud COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program
The City of St. Cloud would like to help promote business continuity and longevity by offering financial assistance in working capital including but not limited to payroll, rent, supplies, equipment, transit/delivery, etc. This grant program will allocate $200,000 in public funding with each business eligible for up to $10,000 in assistance. Find the more information and the application here.

St. Cloud COVID-19 Nonprofit Grant Assistance Program
This program is designed to assist non-profits lessen the financial burden of operational costs. This grant program will allocate $50,000 in public funding to offset the loss of income related to revenue and other economic impacts for nonprofits aiding in the assistance of services directly related to COVID-19. Each non-profit is eligible for up to $5,000. Find more information and the grant application here.

Orange County CARES Act Funding
Orange County Government has received $243.2 million in Federal CARES Act funding. The County’s Small Business Grant Program will provide $10,000 in grant money to small businesses located in Orange County to help offset lost revenue due to COVID-19, and the Individual and Family Assistance Program for residents will provide a one-time payment of $1,000 per household to bridge financial gaps for overdue rent, mortgage, medical or an eligible utility expense. The program opens Monday, June 8. Find more info here.

CARES Act Loans Through the Small Business Administration
On Friday, March 27, the US Senate passed the CARES Act which outlined several loan programs available through the SBA. The link above to the US Treasury site features more information. The window for these loans closes June 30 or when all funds are exhausted. They are as follows:

Paycheck Protection Program: Find the application here Applications for this program re-opened on Monday, April 27.

The Small Business Administration has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Find more info, see if your qualify, and find the application here.

See our blogs about these loans here and here.

Business Damage Assessment Survey
If you have not yet filled out the Business Damage Assessment Survey at floridadisaster.biz, please be sure to . This survey is critical in determining assistance to local businesses as we begin the recovery process. For assistance with the survey, please contact ESF18@em.myflorida.com.

US Chamber of Commerce
Resources and guidelines for businesses from the US Chamber of Commerce can be found here.

The US Chamber has also launched a Save Small Business Initiative and a Save Small Business Fund. Find out if you are eligible to receive assistance from the fund here. Applications for the Save Small Business Grant Fund opened on  Monday, April 20, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. ET. 

The US Chamber offered a great webinar on the psychology of consumers going forward. You can view the filmed conversation here.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
The current Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program closed on April 14. To check on the status of your application visit www.floridajobs.org/covid-19, call toll-free (833-832-4494), or email FloridaBusinessLoanFund@deo.myflorida.com.

Learn about additional state and federal loan opportunities by contacting the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 866-737-7232 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours. For a local SBDC contact call the FSBDC at UCF.

Read our blog post on this here.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Assistance Form
Access the SBA’s Disaster Loan Assistance Form here:
https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/PaperForms. Contact the SBA directly with questions or for assistance:  1-800-659-2955 or (800) 877-8339

The SBA has also provided provided a Guide for Business, which will help employers plan and respond to COVID-19 at this comprehensive site:   http://bit.ly/SmallBusinessAdminInfo

Florida Small Business Development Center
Find a document on business contingency and continuation plans from the FSBDC here: http://bit.ly/FloridaSBDCBusinessContinuation. You can also contact the SBDC for assistance with loan application:

Rafael E. M. Pratts
Business Consultant
FSBDC at UCF
T. 407-847-2458
C. 863-617-9545
rpratts@ucf.edu

Prospera
Prospera is an economic development, nonprofit organization specialized in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their business. If you are an Hispanic-owned small business, contact Prospera at 407-428-5872 or contact@prosperausa.org. Click here for more info.

Download info from Prospera in Spanish here.

Health, Safety, & Legal Requirements in Florida

Florida Attorney General Face Covering Advisory
On Monday, June 22, the Florida Surgeon General issued a public health advisory requiring that all Floridians wear a face covering in any setting where social distancing is not possible. The advisory also stressed that vulnerable populations should limit interactions outside the home and groups of more than 50 should not congregate.

FEMA Operational Guidance for Hurricane Season During COVID-19
FEMA has released operational guidance for the 2020 hurricane season. This includes guidance includes preparation for hurricane season, or any disaster, while continuing to respond to and recover from COVID-19.

Florida Department of Health Tookits
Visit FDOH’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida, which includes The COVID-19 Toolkit with FDOH flyers and videos, the number of Florida cases by county, and much more.

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) issues regular updates related to COVID-19 here- http://www.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/index.html.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

For info relating specifically to businesses visit https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/businesses/

Paid Leave Requirements
Find answers from the Department of Labor about the paid leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which passed in March.

Legal Issues
Gunster has put together a page of resources and insights on potential business and legal issues that may arise as a result of COVID-19.

Mortgage Foreclosure and Eviction Relief

Governor Ron DeSantis has announced an extension on his Mortgage Foreclosure and Eviction Relief Executive Order that was set to expire June 1.

Identifying Critical Infrastructure
Click here for a guide to identifying critical infrastructure from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Stay up-to-date with the CDC here

The CDC has developed a series of printables that you may print or otherwise reproduce for educational purposes in your business. Find them here.

If you think you may have contracted COVID-19 or that you might need testing, consult this CDC self-checker.

The CDC has specific guidance for variety of settings and organizations here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html.

See their Florida mitigation site here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/florida.html

Resources for Non-Profits
The Hispanic Federation has a resource page for non-profits on their website.

World Health Organization – Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19
http://bit.ly/WHODocument

Local Resources & Information

Osceola County COVID-19 Information Page
osceola.org/covid19 contains local information on COVID-19.

The Osceola County covid-19 page now contains a dashboard for cases within the county.

The County has added a COVID Financial Assistance tab to the Osceola.org website as well.  It provides links for both citizens and businesses in need of help during and after the pandemic.  You can also call 407-702-2275.

We’veOpenedSafely.org
Osceola County, Cities of Kissimmee and St. Cloud, and the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce worked in partnership with the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber to create the We’ve Opened Safely Campaign.
Visit www.weveopenedsafely.org. Once there you can:

1. Learn about the safety guidelines and best practices
2. Register your business and commit to follow consumer
safety best practices
3. Download the “We’ve Opened Safely” poster.

Osceola Redi
Osceola Redi is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting victims of disasters, from hurricanes to the current COVID-19-related fallout, by pooling our community’s collective resources. Osceola Redi is currently challenging our community to collectively raise $100,000 to support our local food pantries. You can donate at feedingosceola.org.

City of Kissimmee
Learn about the City of Kissimmee’s response to COVID-19 here.

The  City of Kissimmee has announced that it will waive permits for outdoor business activities, outdoor dining, and signs for 90 days beginning Wednesday, May 13. This program will allow businesses to have additional seating or retail spots outside of their main establishment.

Experience Kissimmee
Experience Kissimmee is asking their accommodations partners who have lost business due to COVID-19 to fill out this form.
They are asking all of their partners to give an update on their operating status by filling out this form.

Visit Florida
Visit Florida has made has made all of their partnership benefits free to all, regardless of partnership status at visitflorida.org.

To better understand and measure the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s tourism industry, Visit Florida has created a data dashboard to track key economic indicators and trends. This dashboard is constantly. To view the data dashboard, click here.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Resource Page
The Florida Chamber Coronavirus Resource website includes important links from Governor DeSantis’ office, the Emergency Operations Center, Centers for Disease Control, Florida Department of Health and our partners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and it will be updated regularly.

If you wish to receive updates directly from the Florida Chamber, sign up here.

Resources for Residents & Businesses

Unemployment & Reemployment Assistance Resources

Re-employment Assistance Application in English

Re-employment Assistance Application in Spanish

Reemployment Assistance
Floridians whose employment has been negatively impacted because of mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance. Click here for more information.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity site now also includes a dashboard on the progression of re-employment assistance payments.

Completed applications should be mailed to:

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
P.O. Box 5350
Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350

Fed-Ex is also offering free printing and mailing of Reemployment Assistance Paper Applications in their stores.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has announced Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which will benefit the self-employed, contract and gig workers who may not otherwise be eligible under Florida’s state Reemployment Assistance program.

Click here for PUA Application Process.
Click here for PUA Frequently Asked Questions.
Click here for COVID-19 Employment Scenarios.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity now has a dashboard to track the progress of unemployment assistance distribution.

CareerSource Florida
Visit CareerSourceFlorida.com for assistance with new job placement. CareerSource locations across Florida can also provide paper Re-employment Assistance Applications and assist individuals in submitting them.

Valencia College Accelerated Training Programs
Valencia College offers a number of accelerated training programs in fields that are currently hiring.

Goodwill
Goodwill is providing their Job Connections Centers’ services virtually. Call (407) 235-1541 or email jobconnection@goodwillcfl.org. They are also able to arrange video conferencing. See more here.

Read our blog post on who is hiring for more re-employment opportunities.

Testing Sites and Criteria in Osceola County

The following locations offer testing in and around Osceola County.

Testing at Sunrise PharmacyTesting is available Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at Sunrise Pharmacy (4543 Pleasant Hill Rd., Suite B, Poinciana). Call 407-343-4434 to schedule a required appointment.

Testing at Prescriptions UnlimitedTesting is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. at Prescriptions Unlimited (2521 13th Street, Suite A, St. Cloud). Call 689-210-2080 to schedule a required appointment.

Department of Health TestingTesting is available Mondays and Fridays by appointment only at the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County (1875 Fortune Road). Call 407-343-2000 to schedule an appointment.

Testing through Osceola Comunity Health Services
Must have appointment. Call 407-943-8600 to schedule.

  • Tuesdays at Osceola Community Health Services Poinciana (109 Doverplum Avenue). Poinciana residents with appointment only.
  • Thursdays at Osceola Community Health Services Kissimmee (1501 Bill Beck Blvd). Osceola County residents with appointment only.

Other Community Testing

  • Saturday, July 11 from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, and Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 17, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Osceola Heritage Park (1875 Silver Spur Lane, Kissimmee). Appointments are not required for this drive thru event. 
  • Testing is available outside the Walmart on 535 from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Individuals must be 18 or over and meet CDC guidelines to be tested. The testing site will require an appointment through Quest’s website at www.MyQuestCOVIDTest.com.

In addition to these locations, testing is available at our local hospitals. All hospital patients will be tested regardless of the reason for their visit.

Health and Safety

Florida Surgeon General Public Health Advisory
On Monday, June 22, the Florida Surgeon General issued a public health advisory requiring that all Floridians wear a face covering in any setting where social distancing is not possible. The advisory also stressed that vulnerable populations should limit interactions outside the home and groups of more than 50 should not congregate.

Florida Department of Health
For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage. For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1 (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours a day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

Orlando Health Hotline
The Orlando Health COVID-19 page can help you stay informed about this evolving situation. https://www.orlandohealth.com/covid-19

Orlando Health has also launched a hotline for patients and the community to obtain information about COVID-19. By calling (877) 321COVID  (877-321-2684), consumers can get accurate information about COVID-19 from trained Orlando Health representatives. The Orlando Health COVID-19 Hotline will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as the resource is needed.

AdventHealth Phone Service
In an effort to equip the public with the facts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, AdventHealth is launching a free phone service for Floridians who have questions about the virus and will provide an opportunity to speak with a nurse as appropriate. 

By Phone:  877-VIRUSHQ (407-848-7-8747) (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

AdventHealth also has an online guide to coronavirus signs and symptoms.

You can schedule a video visit with a doctor by downloading AdventHealth’s app.

HCA Healthcare
Physicians are now scheduling all healthcare procedures at HCA Healthcare’s Central Florida hospitals, including Osceola Regional Medical Center and Poinciana Medical Center.

CDC Guidelines
As of Sunday, April 5, the Center for Disease Control has updated their COVID-19 Guidance for the following.

Assistance & Resources for Residents

Distribution of Economic Impact Payments
Find what you need to know about accessing your Economic Impact Payment from the IRS by clicking here. Tax day for 2020 has been extended to July 15. If you have not yet filed your taxes for 2020 it will not affect your ability to receive an economic impact payment.

Livestream with Community Hope Center
On Wednesday, April 8, the Chamber hosted Rev. Mary Lee Downey with the Community Hope Center on a Livestream on our Facebook Page. She shared how our non-profit community can be of service at this time. She also outlined some of the basics of the CARES Act stimulus package and clarified current questions about unemployment assistance.

Florida Blue Emotional Support Helpline
Florida Blue has opened a free emotional support helpline for all Floridians. This number is toll-free, bilingual, and available 24 hours a day. It connects individuals with specially trained behavioral health counselors who can assist anyone experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety, trauma, or grief due to the health crisis. Call 833-848-1762.

Florida Blue also offers virtual Florida Blue Centers. They have social workers available by phone to assist individuals, regardless of whether they are Florida Blue members, with resources and programs in the community. You can also check out Florida Blue’s schedule of online Zoom classes. These are free and open to the public.

City of Kissimmee
For information on the City of Kissimmee’s response to COVID-19 visit www.kissimmee.org/coronavirus.

City of Kissimmee Rental Assistance and Eviction Prevention
The City of Kissimmee has implemented a modified Foreclosure Prevention and Rental Assistance/Eviction Prevention Program to assist low-income residents impacted by COVID-19 beginning Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Participants can apply online at  www.kissimmeeresponds.com/resources or contact the Osceola Council on Aging at 407-933-9530 for more information.

School District of Osceola County
On Monday, June 29 the School District of Osceola County announced their Ready. Set. Start Smart. reopening plan for fall. Parents are asked to visit their website and indicate their learning preference by July 15.

Graduations scheduled for the week of July 6th have been canceled. Parents and students are encouraged to check their school websites for further instruction.

Free Meals for Children
For free meals for children in the state of Florida text FLKIDSMEALS to 211-211 or call 211.

The School District of Osceola County’s School Nutrition Services Department provides FREE breakfast and lunch to children under 18 at 12 locations around the county from March 23 to July 16, Monday through Thursday, between the hours of 9:30 and 12:00 pm. Friday meals will be included with the Thursday meal. Find more info here www.osceolaschools.net/departments/school_nutrition_services

Lynx is offering free transportation for parents and students to their nearest feeding site, and unemployment applications are also available at feeding sites.
Locations:

–St. Cloud High School
–Lakeview Elementary – 2900 5thStreet in St. Cloud
–Ventura Elementary – 275 Waters Edge Drive in Kissimmee
–Denn John Middle – 2001 Denn John Lane in Kissimmee
–Central Avenue Elementary – 500 W. Columbia Avenue in Kissimmee
–Kissimmee Middle – 2410 Dyer Boulevard in Kissimmee
–Sunrise Elementary – 1925 Ham Brown Road in Kissimmee (Poinciana)
–KOA Elementary – 5000 Koa Street in Kissimmee (Poinciana)
–Westside K-8 School
–Narcoossee Middle – 2700 N. Narcoossee Road in St. Cloud
–Liberty High – 4250 Pleasant Hill Road in Kissimmee (Poinciana)
–Holopaw Church
–Canoe Creek Charter – 3600 Canoe Creek Road in St. Cloud
–Celebration K-8 School – 510 Campus Street in Celebration — beginning feeding on 4/22
–Intercession Civic Center – 1531 Immokalee Street in Intercession City

Price Gouging Hotline
The Florida Attorney General has activated the price gouging hotline for anyone to report coronavirus-related price gouging.  Incidents should be reported at 1-866-9NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or online at visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.

Community Vision
Community Vision has a virtual Osceola County Resource Guide that gives you access to services across the county without leaving your home.

US State Department Travel Advisory Website
For information on travel advisories issues by the US State Department, please visit the Travel Advisory Website.

New York Times: “Answers to Your Coronavirus Questions
The New York Times has created this free download with answers to many of your coronavirus questions from how to clean your phone to stock market concerns. Download it as a pdf here.

Publix Senior Shopping Hours
Publix supermarkets offers designated senior shopping hours on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7:00 am to 8:00 am. This hour of shopping is intended for individuals age 65 and over.

News Updates Regarding Coronavirus

On Wednesday, April 29, Governor DeSantis announced a phased re-opening for the state. Read the full Executive Order here and a very helpful FAQ here. On Friday, May 8, Governor DeSantis announced that the state will reopen barber shops and salons, effective Monday, May 11. On Friday, May 15, he announced that we are now in “Full Phase I.”

Additional Federal Loan Funding
Congress reached a deal on April 23 on an $484 billion relief package that includes an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program as well as other priorities like money for hospitals and expanded Covid-19 testing.

Lynx & SunRail
As of Monday, May 11, Lynx & SunRail have resumed normal operations.

Osceola County Issues Executive Order on Face Masks
On Friday, April 10, Osceola County issued an executive order requiring residents to wear a face covering when in public beginning Monday, April 13. The CDC recommends wearing face coverings in public when other measures of social distancing are difficult to maintain. Find the CDC’s guidelines on face coverings here.

Federal Relief Package
March 27: The US Congress has passed a $2 trillion Coronavirus relief package that will include direct payments to Americans, an aggressive expansion of unemployment insurance, billions of dollars in aid to large and small businesses and a new wave of significant funding for the health care industry. Read the full act here.

COVID-19 in Osceola County
Beginning Monday, April 13, Osceola County residents must wear a face covering in public spaces.

n Monday, March 16, Osceola County and the City of Kissimmee declared a state of emergency.

Osceola County Property Appraiser
The Osceola County Property Appraiser’s Office has granted all Tangible Personal Property (TPP) accounts an automatic 45-day extension to file their TPP return.  The deadline for all TPP Returns is Friday, May 15, 2020.  Please note that while you are not required to submit a request form for the extension, all TPP Returns and supporting documentation must be submitted to the Property Appraiser’s Office by Friday, May 15, 2020. You may utilize our online filing system, or mail your TPP Return to our office.  Any supporting documentation can be e-mailed to PA-Tangible@property-appraiser.org. The Property Appraiser’s Office is not currently open to the public.

Restaurant Closures
Per the governor’s re-opening plan, restaurants may currently offer outdoor seating following social distancing guidelines (tables 6 ft apart) and indoor seating at 50% capacity. To see a summary of the governor’s Executive Order click here. To read the full order click here. These new guidelines will be effective May 4 at 12:01 am.

Toll Collection
As of 8:00 am on Thursday, March 19, the Central Florida Expressway Authority has stopped cash collection on toll roads to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Osceola County School District
On April 18 the governor announced that all Florida schools will remain closed until the end of the school year. Students will continue to learn from home.

Utilities
Duke Energy, OUC, KUA, and Toho Water Authority have suspended disconnections due to non-payment until further notice. In addition, Toho Water Authority offers the Toho Assistance Program (TAP), which provides assistance with existing water bills to households with elderly or disabled individuals or children under 12. To apply for the program call the Osceola Council on Aging at 407-846-8532, ext. 1265. KUA resumed collections in July.

President Trump declares a National State of Emergency
President Donald Trump has activated emergency powers under four separate statutes for the COVID-19 response. He declared a public health emergency under the Public Health Service Act on Jan. 31, issued two national emergency declarations under both the Stafford Act and the National Emergencies Act (NEA) on March 13, and invoked emergency powers via Executive Order under the Defense Production Act on March 18. On March 19, Trump named FEMA the lead agency in the COVID-19 emergency response efforts. These declarations give the federal government the ability to offer funds and assistance to state and local governments during an emergency. Learn more here.

State of Emergency Declared in Florida
Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-52 declaring a State of Emergency for COVID-19. The governor also issued Executive Order 20-51 directing the State Surgeon General to declare a public health emergency.

State of Emergency Extended
On Tuesday, July 7, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-166 Emergency Management – Extension of Executive Order 20-52 extending for an additional 60 days, the previous declaration of emergency in EO 20-52 as a result of COVID-19.  The state of emergency is now good through September 5, 2020. 

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Florida, please visit the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage. For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the state’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

What You Should Know

As of April 5, the White House Coronavirus task force recommends wearing a mask when out in public. On Monday, June 22, the Florida Surgeon General issued a public health advisory requiring that all Floridians wear a face covering in any setting where social distancing is not possible. The advisory also stressed that vulnerable populations should limit interactions outside the home and groups of more than 50 should not congregate.

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The Department recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty;  and
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

    The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

When You Should Contact a Health Care Provider and Local County Health Department (CHD)
If you experience fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days after your travel or close contact with someone who has traveled to or from any destination under a CDC travel advisory. Call a health care provider and local CHD and mention your recent travel or close contact, unless you are experiencing an emergency. Please call ahead before visiting a health care provider or local CHD.

If you experience fever, cough or shortness of breath after close contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, call a health care provider and local CHD. The health care provider will work with the local CHD to determine if you should be tested for COVID-19. Please call ahead before visiting a health care provider or local CHD.

Select CDC Materials
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/workplace-school-and-home-guidance.pdf

Tips for Telecommuting or Working Remotely

We realize that many of our members may have adopted work-from-home policies for some of their employees. Our friends at Embrace Families have pooled the experience of their telecommuting employees to provide a list of tips and practices that may be useful to employees as they shift from office work to working remotely:

 Cultural

  • Designate a room or space as your “home office;” try not to work from where you sit when you get home from work.
  • Let your kids and family members know that when you are in your “home office,” you are at work; call or text if you need something.
  • This may be particularly challenging even for existing telecommuters with schools closed, businesses disrupted, etc.
  • Follow the same basic routine in the morning for “getting ready for work;” don’t stay in your pajamas, etc.
  • Maintain regular hours; take breaks and your lunch hour at the same time you would if you were at the office.
  • Get out of the “home office” at the end of the day. (But follow social distancing guidelines during this pandemic.)

Technical

  • There may be technical issues as you transition to remote work. Consult one of your team members who is “good with technical stuff” if possible.

Professional

  • Schedule team or unit conference calls multiple times per week (to eliminate feelings of isolation).
  • Call other co-workers or team members daily.
  • Over-communicate with your supervisor and/or team members.

Working Remotely Virtual Seminar
Our friends at REACH also have much experience in working remotely. Check out some tips from their founder Kelly Trace here.