Gov. Ron DeSantis said today that he will issue a 30-day stay-at-home order for Florida, set to begin Thursday at midnight. He said the order would tell people to stay at home and leave only for “essential services,” the same order that was passed in Osceola and Orange counties last week — so if you live in our area, keep doing what you’ve been doing.

Earlier Wednesday, the U.S. surgeon general said national guidelines amount to “a national stay-at-home order” that everyone should heed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“If you’re not engaged in essential activities, you’re exercising good judgment and saving your neighbors by staying around home,” DeSantis said.

The Florida Department of Health currently reports 115 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Osceola County, up from 110 last night.

The drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at the Orange County Convention Center that’s been open for about a week only to first responders, health care workers and those aged 65 and over with symptoms no longer have an age requirement starting today.

Those being tested must meet the following criteria:

• Temperature above 99.6 AND respiratory symptoms OR pre-existing conditions
• All first responders and heath care workers, regardless of symptom presence.

If you’ve done all you can to keep yourself healthy during this pandemic — working from home, practicing social distancing, completely shutting down your circle of socialization — you can now look into doing what you can to keep your small business healthy.

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act)  are the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) and the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), which will provide assistance for keeping your employees employed and paid. Look for articles about them later this week, as they’ll be kicking off their application periods.

Osceola County has developed a Business Assistance dashboard page with lots of references to state-level assistance programs.

Oh, and don’t forget to fill out your 2020 U.S. Census form today. A proper population count will ensure that Osceola County, Kissimmee and St. Cloud receives their proper allocation of federal funds. It takes 5-10 minutes if you have your 12-digit Census ID. If not, call 844-330-2020.

Happy Census Day … and stay safe and positive!