Over the past several days, it has become abundantly clear that our destination is facing new, yet familiar, challenges as we continue to strive for a full recovery that also prioritizes health and safety.

In response to the alarming spread of COVID-19’s highly contagious delta variant, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has declared a state of emergency. And in accordance with the CDC’s recent announcement, Mayor Demings continues to strongly recommend that all residents – vaccinated and unvaccinated – consider wearing a mask indoors while in a crowded environment. Additionally, businesses are encouraged to display signs recommending patrons wear a mask when indoors.

As you might imagine, this is a fluid situation that will, once again, require alignment for businesses across our destination, including our tourism industry. We stand with Mayor Demings in echoing the magnitude of these concerns and encourage our member companies to take whatever action is necessary to support the health and safety of employees, residents and visitors. More specifically, to stem this most recent COVID surge and ensure a better, safer tomorrow, more people must get vaccinated now — locally and across the United States. Orange County’s vaccination rate is just north of 62%, but we can and must do better. As Orlando-area hospitals fill up with COVID patients (over nine in 10 being unvaccinated), this preventable crisis is not only impacting our medical health, it’s also jeopardizing a strong tourism rebound.

If you have yet to get your shot, please do so now — for your safety, the safety of those around you, and the continual recovery of our industry. On top of that, encourage your co-workers, employees, friends and loved ones to follow suit. Here’s a list of free vaccination sites and other COVID resources to guide your decision.

Finally, please be aware that I will be serving on the Mayor’s re-launched Economic Recovery Task Force and will provide more details in the coming days.

Remember, we are Safer, Stronger, Together. Do your part, Orlando!

In your service,

Casandra Matej
President & CEO