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Orange County CARES Act Portal Closes Six Minutes Before It Was Scheduled to Open to the Public

Photo: Alexander Mills
Photo: Alexander Mills

Fewer than two thousand Orange County residents were able to apply for a one-time grant through the CARES Act this morning. The county says there was an "overwhelming response" and the web portal hit its 2,000 applicant capacity within minutes. 

The online portal closed six minutes before it was scheduled to open to the public at 8 am with not all of the people logged onto the site completing applications. 

Gwen Cooper who works as a server at Orlando International Airport said she was waiting to sign onto the portal at 8 am but never got a chance.

“Um what am I going to do? I’m going to move the last $1,000 dollars from my savings into my checking account and pay my July mortgage with that. That’s what’s going to happen.”

[audio wav="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/cooper-clip-one.wav"][/audio]

Cooper hasn’t been called back to her job at the airport and her boyfriend, who is a bartender, has only been able to find part-time work.

Plus, she has concerns about returning to work during the coronavirus pandemic because of pre-existing health conditions.

“I don’t even know what the industry is going to look like when I get back into it. And how much I’m going to be able to count on even making an income. And I’m concerned about the second wave.”  

[audio wav="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/13011_CARES_DANIELLE.wav"][/audio]

She says she hasn’t received unemployment assistance from the state and she only just got her federal stimulus check.

The portal will reopen again on Tuesday at 8 am, and the county will review up to one thousand applicants per week.

If you'd like to listen to the story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.