A task force made up a cross section of Osceola County’s business community met this week to make recommendation to the county’s Executive Policy Group and figure out the plan for re-opening the county’s business sector.

That was one of the topics the county’s Executive Policy Board announced Friday at another of one of its public briefings.

Any re-opening will follow the guidelines the federal government has laid out, at that will include a 14-day downward trend of new COVID-19 cases, and hospitals in a prepared state to handle potential ones. The theme is this: the county is planning the work, but it will take time to work the plan.

Testing will be a big key in the profile in how the county will re-open. AdventHealth opened its drive-through testing site on Thursday at Osceola Heritage Park and it had a busy opening day with 380 tests done, but it was closed Friday due to inclement weather. It will be open daily, including this weekend, through at least next Friday. AdventHealth has assured it has plenty of test kits. If you are going to go, it is advised you make an online appointment at Adventhealthcoronavirustesting.com.

In addition, the county will open a mobile testing clinic rotating among locations, beginning at St. Cloud High School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Wednesday through Friday (April 29 to May 1), Department of Health Osceola County Director Bianca McCluskey said. Testing is available to anyone experiencing symptoms. Call 407-343-2000 to make an appointment.

More testing will obviously mean higher numbers of positive cases, but it will give everyone a better picture of the virus’ activity the community; focus should instead be on the percentage of positive tests. Preventative measures must continue, because in absence of vaccine, these are critical in reducing transmission and decreasing the rate of infection in Osceola County, which is vital to when it can re-open.

More from the business community: About a 100 more businesses filled out the state’s business damage report, and the county saw a spike. There are now 418 county business that have reported $41.8 million in damages, 1,367 part-time and 379 full-time workers have been laid off from 334 businesses.

On the plus side, the county has received $920,000 in federal funding that it will use for Community Development Block Grants and housing assistance. County Commission Chair Viviana Janer said the board will take that up at its May 4 meeting. And the cities Kissimmee and St. Cloud working on comprehensive assistance programs. Kissimmee has received $157,000 for the Kissimmee Gateway Airport to offset operational costs and revenue lost, and $420,000 in additional CDBG funds, and St. Cloud got $192,000 that will be used for assistance to residents and businesses.

On Wednesday, the Osceola Council on Aging opened a Utility Assistance Program for customers of Toho Water, Kissimmee Utility Authority and St. Cloud Utilities. Contact the Council on Aging at 407-846-8532.