The 5 Things You Need to Know In and Around Osceola County for June 19, 2020!

1. If you have business or other reason that takes you into Orange County, know that Orange will have the same mandate to wear face coverings in public starting Saturday that Osceola County has had for over a month.

When Osceola issued an order making the wearing of masks mandatory in public places, many questioned the decision. Today, Orange County, including within the city limits of Orlando, joined Osceola with a new county-wide order that was issued by County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Starting Saturday at 12:01 a.m., “every person working, living, visiting or doing business in Orange County,” will be required to wear face coverings while in any public space. It’s in the name of preventing a second shutdown of the community to stop the virus’ spread.

It could be worse. In the Florida Keys, which closed to non-residents in April and just re-opened to tourists on June 1, local government has made face coverings mandatory until June 1st, 2021 with a possible $500 fine, although the county commission can revisit the restriction every three months.

Whichever county you live in, wearing a mask is a smart idea. Medical officials say that wearing masks is “the No.1 thing you can do to help reduce transmission of breathing droplets.

2. The reason for all that is the continued spike in new coronavirus cases in the state of Florida.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the state added a record 3,207 new cases to the rolls. Osceola County had 34 of them, also a new daily high, to push its total to 926 cases. The county is now up to 171 virus-related hospitalizations, and down to roughly 215 available hospital beds.

The percentage of positive tests in the county has been 5.2, 7.5 and 7.1 percent for the last three days after nearly a month of readings of 3 percent or lower.

These are reasons to be concerned. But prevention comes down to our personal actions, and the easiest and most effective prevention tools — Avoid large groups, wear a mask when in public, maintain the six feet of social distancing, avoid touching your face, wash your hands often — eliminate the highest percentages of transmission risk.

3. Here’s some news on special Disney events later this year: the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is in, but Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party is out.

According to a post on the Disney Parks Blog Thursday night, the modified food festival will begin July 15 and extend into the fall, offering over 20 signature global marketplaces like Hawaii, Hops & Barley, and Islands of the Caribbean, spaced out around the park. But the “Eat To the Beat” concert series will not be part of Food and Wine this year in order to avoid large groups gathering and to promote social distancing.

As for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, the stage shows, parades and fireworks, are unable to take place in this new, unprecedented environment. Additionally, Disney H2O Glow Nights, the nighttime special ticket event at Typhoon Lagoon, will not take place for the remainder of 2020. Guests who already bought tickets will be assisted with refunds over the coming weeks.

No decision has been made yet on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, which includes the Candlelight Processional.

4. Despite the coronavirus, Celebration High finds a way to honor its college-bound senior athletes.

Every year, Osceola County sends handfuls of athletes on to the next level as recipients of college scholarships. Signing ceremonies with athletes, coaches, families and friends happen on a weekly basis through the late winter and spring. While the coronavirus couldn’t stop the players from moving on, it did stop the ceremonies.

But thanks to some maneuvering and better-late-than-never scheduling by Storm Athletic Director Rick Tribit, 14 members of the Storm athletic family who signed scholarships got their moment on Wednesday. It took two table setups and over two hours, but the college-bound athletes were able to get their photos taken with families.

“It’s not ideal, but it does honor these kids’ accomplishments, which is what it’s all about,” Tribit said. “We are all so heartbroken for all of them that missed out on so many defining moments of the senior year. I would like to do is offer at least one of those moments back — the opportunity to have signing day at CHS.”

To see all of the photos, check out the Celebration Storm athletic Twitter feed, @CHS Storm Nation.

5. Today, June 19, is Juneteenth, the celebration of the anniversary of the 1865 announcement that the United States had ended slavery.

Juneteenth, considered “the longest running African-American holiday”, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Though the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in 1863, it took over two years for word to reach places like Texas. Union General Gordon Granger read the federal order in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, effectively telling the story of liberation for African Americans in our country.

Since the 1980s and 1990s, the holiday has been more widely celebrated among African-American communities. Forty-eight of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or ceremonial holiday.

And now for today’s weather: Expect afternoon storms that could drop as much as 2 inches of rain in Osceola County. The high temperature will approach 90 before the storms move in, and then we’ll have partly to mostly cloudy skies with scattered thunderstorms before midnight and an overnight low of 72