Across America, states and localities are moving toward a critical moment in our two-front battle to contain COVID-19 while also beginning to plant the seeds of economic recovery. As Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said this week, our community is working very hard to find "the sweet spot between protecting lives and livelihoods."
Despite facing a very long and challenging road ahead, we are seeing some great work from our task force of business and community leaders to get there, some of which is outlined below.
VISIT ORLANDO IN ACTION
Our Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force and its four working groups met multiple times this week, with nearly 50 business and community leaders from across Central Florida contributing their insights and expertise.
Mayor Demings' direction is for this task force to create a phased, data-driven approach to restarting the local economy, while ensuring the safety of employees and the public. Of the utmost importance is to protect the confidence that residents and visitors alike have in Orlando to do this in a way that is safe and effective.
You may have seen in local news media some of the business protocols being discussed for various industries. We recognize that these are still in discussion and not final. Rest assured that Visit Orlando will take a proactive role in communicating these guidelines when they are established.
There are currently several meetings taking place each day this week, including the overall task force and four working subgroups: Guidelines for Re-opening Business, Business Readiness, Business Compliance and Bringing Back Tourism.
How can you be involved?
Keep informed in real time, as our meetings are broadcast live on
Orange TV. The next overall task force meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 1, at 2 p.m.
Offer your public comment, either live or in writing, by emailing
public.comment@OCFL.net. Comments must be submitted before 5 p.m. the day before the meeting you are addressing (overall task force or a specific working group).
Mother's Day: In our continuing programs to support local businesses, Visit Orlando launched this week a "Shop Local" Guide for Mother's Day (May 10) that features several virtual and in-person activities, including local dining deals, gifts and other shared experiences. We are promoting this in the news, on social media and through consumer emails. I encourage you to check it out, and email us if you have any additional ideas to promote local businesses.
Upcoming Webinar: Join us Friday, May 1, at 2 p.m. as Sherrif Karamat, president & CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) looks at how COVID-19 is changing the business events industry. Register and view previous webinars here.
Rescheduling Conventions: Our convention sales team continues to work alongside the Orange County Convention Center and member hotels to reschedule impacted groups. As of Tuesday, 20 conventions with an estimated economic impact of $405.2 million have rescheduled for 2020 or 2021.
Occupancy Rates: Metro Orlando's hotel occupancy was 12.8% April 12-18, which is just a little over half the national average. The region's average daily rate slipped to $68.19, half of what it was a year prior.
Economic Impact: Travel spending in the U.S. continues to decline, but the rate of decline is slowing down. For the week of April 12-18, travel spending was just $2.5 billion, a drop of 89% from the same week last year. Read more.
Consumer Confidence: The Consumer Confidence Index for April fell to 86.9, down 26.9% from March. This represents the lowest mark since June 2014 and the biggest month-to-month drop since February 2009.
TOURISM HELP HUB
Be sure to check out our dedicated Tourism Help Hub webpage regularly, as we continue to update information on financial and food assistance, employment opportunities and Visit Orlando programs to keep your business top of mind with consumers.
COMMUNITY & HEALTH
Stay-at-Home Order: As of this moment, the statewide stay-at-home order remains in effect until May 1. For information on how it impacts personal mobility and business operations, please refer to this updated and extended FAQ. For the most critical local health and government updates, visit Orange County's coronavirus webpage.
Help Needed with Face Coverings: While not a mandate, Orange County strongly urges individuals to wear a mask or facial covering when out in public and at essential businesses. Our county has requested mask donations for county personnel. Those who can help, please deliver masks to 101 Suddath Drive, Orlando, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 407-394-4831.