ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The City Of Orlando Council began its second meeting of 2021 agreeing to extend the length of the safety programs installed in March of 2020 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, as the vaccination program continues throughout central Florida.
“I don’t think any of us thought back in March extending COVID relief programs for our businesses into the summertime of this year, but we are,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said in his opening remarks.
“COVID continues to impact our community even as we see the distribution of vaccines, so you need to continue to practice your pandemic precautions, (like) wearing a mask, social distancing,” he added. “But don’t focus on what you can’t do; I think we ought to be focusing on what we can do safely, and there are lots of great things. You can meet friends and families at a distance, in your driveway, in your front yard, one of our city parks, there’s a lot of outdoor dining opportunities, you can go for walks, bike rides, visit our city parks. And that’s good not only for your physical health but for your mental health, as well.
“You can come to City Council meetings, that’s always good for your mental health… sometimes”, the mayor commented. “But getting outside reduces the risk of spreading the virus, so we want to continue protecting our family and friends and everybody here in Central Florida.”
The resolutions also include allowing for more outdoor dining, helping downtown food trucks operate through the Downtown area, and suspending the need to get any permits or pay any fees relating to that activity.
On that note, Commissioner Bakari Burns informed that, on January 15th, he participated in delivering gave out over 2,000 masks, hand sanitizers, and COVID-19 posters to businesses on International Drive.
Commissioners Anthony Ortiz and Robert Stuart of Districts 2 and 3, respectively, brought forward a Civility Resolution to set an example of behavior to both federal, state, and city governments across the country.
“If you go on YouTube and see other meetings going on, it’s not so stressful here. I appreciate the congeniality and the civil discourse that we enjoy here at this council,” Mayor Dyer said. “By adopting this resolution we can set an example to other communities and allow Commissioner Ortiz, as president of the Florida League of Cities this year, to pursue one of his goals.”
“The best way to make yourself look good is to work hard and to not use the media to make someone else look bad,” Commissioner Patty Sheehan of District 4 commented about the resolution.
“This council puts people over politics,” added Commissioner Regina Hill of District 5.
Commissioner Hill also took the time to congratulate the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President of the United States, respectively, especially Vice President Harris as the first female vice president in history, in honor of “equity and equality for all women in the nation.”
In preparation for Black History Month, to be celebrated throughout February, the City proclaimed that the theme for 2021 would be to celebrate “the diversity of African American families as a core part of American society.” In light of the pandemic, most Black History Month events will be held virtually and encouraged to visit the BHM Committee’s website for more information and registration.
The Council also announced a series of outdoor activities for residents and visitors, like the new Deezerland park on I-Drive, which features a collection of vehicles used in movies like Back To The Future and the Batman series; the Farmer’s Market at Barker Park on Saturdays; and the new Dinosaur exhibit at the Harry P. Leu Gardens and the “American Artists in the Southwest and American Paintings and Drawings from the Melanson Holt Collection” in the Mennello Museum of American Art.
Juan Carlo Rodriguez is a politics and entertainment writer for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org