Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Osceola County is continuing to respond to COVID-19 and recovery efforts based on updates from the Governor’s office regarding reopening the state in a phased approach. Phase 1 of the Governor’s “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step.” Plan for Florida’s Recovery has been established by Executive Order 20-112. (Frequently Asked Questions for Phase 1 are available here.) Direction from the Governor is providing guidance to the Executive Policy Group for decisions specific to our County. Please check back for updates.
The CARES Act Stimulus Bill has been signed into law.
Click here to see what’s included in the bill.
STATE APPROVES OSCEOLA PLAN TO RE-OPEN VACATION HOME RENTALS
On Wednesday, May 20, the State of Florida approved Osceola County’s plan to reopen the vacation rental home industry. County leadership sent Gov. Ron DeSantis the County’s plan on Friday, May 15, and State Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DPBR) Secretary Halsey Beshears gave the approval to re-open via e-mail shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday. Vacation rentals must follow the plan established and approved that features updated guidelines for the health and safety of employees and guests. Learn more about the approval to re-open here.
FORECLOSURE/EVICTION MORATORIUM THROUGH JUNE 2
Governor DeSantis issued a new Executive Order which prevents foreclosure and eviction actions for non-payment through June 2. Please note, this Order does NOT forgive or waive payments due during this time. All monies owed for mortgage or rent payments are still owed according to contracts.
CDC PROVIDES NEW TOOLS FOR GUIDING REOPENING
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a set of one-page decision tools to provide health and safety guidelines for reopening key sectors.
Access these tools from the CDC here:
OSCEOLA COUNTY COVID-19 TRACKING DASHBOARD
In collaboration with federal, state and local agencies, Osceola County has compiled the following briefing dashboard for citizens to find important data being tracked in the continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Note: Osceola County is not responsible for the accuracy and timeliness of the data contained in the dashboard. We make every possible attempt to ensure the accuracy and availability. Please be aware the data sources may be delayed due to third-party reporting.
CHIEF JUSTICE EXPANDS LIST OF REMOTE COURT PROCEEDINGS AND EXTENDS JURY TRIAL SUSPENSION UNTIL JULY
Acting on the recommendations of a statewide Court Continuity Workgroup, Florida’s Chief Justice Charles Canady issued a new emergency order May 4 increasing the list of proceedings state courts will accomplish by remote technology during the coronavirus pandemic.
It also extends the current suspension of jury trials in Florida until July 2. It makes corresponding changes to some legal deadlines by pushing them back until the Monday after the July 4 holiday weekend. In-person jury trials pose a special hazard because they can expose jurors and other courtroom participants to a risk of infection. Future extensions will be considered if needed.
For first-degree murder cases, the new order suspends until July 2 some requirements for in-person preliminary hearings and a requirement that defendants be automatically released from custody if prosecutors are unable to file charges within 40 days.
The order especially focuses on increasing the resolution of cases by shifting as many of them as possible into a virtual environment with remote technology. In addition to work already required under an April 6 order, the amended list now adds the following:
- Non-jury trials, except that all parties must agree to remote non-jury proceedings in criminal, juvenile delinquency, and termination of parental rights cases;
- Alternate dispute resolution cases;
- Status, case management, and pretrial conferences in all case types;
- Non-evidentiary and evidentiary motion hearings in all case types;
- Arraignments and pleas in absentia in county court misdemeanor cases;
- Hearings in juvenile delinquency cases;
- Hearings in noncriminal traffic infraction cases; and
- Problem-solving court staffings, hearings, and wellness checks.
Case types on this list will be held by telephone or other electronic means unless prohibited by the constitution or other law, or where one of the participants is unable to take part because of a lack of required technology or staffing problems caused by the pandemic.
Canady’s order embodies the first set of recommendations from the Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations, created by an April 21 order. The Continuity Workgroup was asked to submit recommendations as they are developed to guide a phased return to full court operations.
The expanded list of essential proceedings adds to earlier efforts to mitigate the impact of coronavirus while letting courts operate in a way consistent with public safety. Florida’s courts have followed emergency guidelines since a March 13 order, when Canady suspended jury trials and took other actions restricting in-person proceedings to enforce social distancing. Subsequent orders extended these limits through the end of May, subject to future orders made necessary by the pandemic.
Chaired by Orlando-area Circuit Judge Lisa Taylor Munyon, the 17-member Continuity Workgroup’s mission includes examining the current status of all court proceedings statewide that have been delayed by the pandemic. Where warranted, the Workgroup will propose methods for resolving cases with remote technology and other new procedures. Information about the Workgroup and its meeting minutes are available on its web page.
The move toward more virtual proceedings is a major historical shift in state court operations, which have relied heavily on in-person hearings in the 175 years Florida has been a state. Canady also has asked the Continuity Workgroup to make suggestions for remote procedures that can continue even after the pandemic is over.
All state-court coronavirus emergency orders and advisories are linked on the Florida Supreme Court’s website: https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/Emergency
Osceola County Mandatory Face Coverings
The Executive Policy Group enacted an emergency order requiring all people working, living, visiting or doing business in Osceola County to wear face coverings (not face masks) while in public places from April 13 until further notice.
A face covering, according to the CDC’s guidance, can help stop the spread of the disease, especially if someone is asymptomatic.
Face coverings should be a uniform piece of material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one’s hands. Examples include bandanas, t-shirts, scarves, or any other piece of cloth.
The following exemptions are cited in the order:
- Persons under the age of two years; and
- Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition; and
- Persons working in a professional who do not have any face-to- face interactions with the public; and
- Persons working in a profession where use of a face covering will not be compatible with the duties of the profession; and
- Persons exercising, while observing social distancing in accordance with the CDC guidelines.
Learn more about the importance of using face coverings and how to make your own at home:
(A previous Face Covering Order – Emergency Order No. 4 – included a penalty of a fine or jail time for violation; this current amended Order No. 5 removes this penalty for non-compliance.)
LEVEL 2 ACTIVATION OF EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
Osceola County Government’s Emergency Operations Center is activated at Level 2 in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). At this time, official are continuing to coordinate with local, state and federal agencies to ensure resources are available and distributed in support of our community’s health needs and to minimize the spread of the virus.
On March 1, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order directing a Public Health Emergency and statewide response for Coronavirus Disease. Declaring a State of Emergency is a common proactive practice that allows state resources and personnel to respond to any incidents.
To better serve and assist residents regarding concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Florida Department of Health has established a Call Center to answer general questions residents and visitors may have. The phone number is 407-723-5004. The General Questions Call Center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Please visit FloridaHealth.gov/COVID-19 for current updates.
The Florida Department of Health's dedicated COVID-19 Call Center is 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available 24/7. Residents can also send questions via email at COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The Florida Department of Health is the lead agency monitoring infectious disease within the state of Florida. Osceola County Government is taking proactive steps to provide support to health officials and to follow DOH and CDC guidance.
CITIZEN INFORMATION CENTER HOTLINE
Though much information is available on this site, the Osceola County Citizen Information Center hotline is active for residents that have specific questions or need to speak with an Osceola County representative about local agencies or resources during the COVID-19 crisis.
This service is available at 407-742-0000, and is open from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
NOTE: Questions regarding testing and medical care for coronavirus should be directed to the Florida Department of Health.
Stop the Spread of Germs
Residents and visitors in Osceola County are asked to stay diligent with their personal health. There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
More information can be found on the CDC's webpage.
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) FACT SHEETS
What you need to know:
What to do if you are sick:
Symptoms and What To Do If You Are Sick
Wondering if you should you be tested for Coronavirus (COVID-19)? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer a Coronavirus Self-Checker online, which is a simple guide to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. Find the information at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html.
This online checker does not replace the judgment of healthcare professionals or the performance of any clinical assessment. Patients with COVID-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness, and the symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Residents who suspect that they are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately and isolate themselves from others.
Residents who suspect that they are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Those residents should restrict activities outside of their home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
More information can be found on the CDC's webpage.