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Orange County Leaders Scold Gyms, Praise Disney as County Reports 400 New Coronavirus Cases

Photo: Meghan Holmes
Photo: Meghan Holmes

The Orange County Department of Health and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation will be stepping up inspections at local gyms. 

Medical Director Raul Pino says in the last week, he’s observed people at workout facilities not wearing face masks or maintaining social distancing. 

Pino says recent evidence that coronavirus can be spread through particles in the air means that these behaviors could encourage community spread. 

“So we have real concerns about people exercising, exhaling a lot, sweating and being too close.”

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Mayor Jerry Demings said he would prefer voluntary compliance with health and safety precautions on the part of these business owners, including operating at 50 percent occupancy or less. 

But, he says he is prepared to fine and close these businesses if necessary.

On the other hand, Demings thanked Disney for closing down their parks at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Demings said the company's decision to lead by example and put people over profits had slowed the spread of the virus in the county and the United States. 

He said he felt assured that the parks could reopen safely now, even though new cases continue to rise in the state. 

“My economic recovery task force and I reviewed Disney’s reopening plans and I am confident that the Disney guests will be in good hands.”

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Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen on Saturday, while Epcot and Hollywood Studios will open their doors to the public on Wednesday. 

In Orange County, 527 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and 69 people have died since mid-March. 
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Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.