Orlando International Airport Stays Open But Travel Slows

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Matthew Peddie, WMFE.—

Orlando International Airport’s estimated number of passengers departing Friday was 33,833, down from an original projection of 76,841 based on Spring Break numbers.

A Virgin Atlantic relief flight left MCO Friday to help travelers return home, while another was scheduled for today.

Virgin obtained permission to operate the flights after an expanded travel ban restricted the entry of visitors from Europe, the UK and Ireland.

Since the travel ban was put in place, the U.S. Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. The federal government is also moving to shut down travel to Canada and Mexico.

Rental car companies are now operating in the A Terminal only, and with resorts at Walt Disney World closing Friday evening, the Disney Magical Express has also stopped.

According to the Airports Council International-North America, economic losses of at least $14 billion are expected for all airports in 2020.

Three TSA officers at Orlando International Airport have now tested positive for coronavirus.

Federal Security Director Pete Garcia notified staff Friday about two more confirmed cases, after TSA officer Andrea Silas was diagnosed last week.

Garcia said both officers are recovering at home and will have to be cleared by a doctor before they come back to work.

TSA workers at airports in California, Florida, Georgia, New York and Ohio have fallen ill with the virus.

The Health Department announced the patient is a 59-year-old woman.

Staff are conducting a contact investigation, identifying and notifying people who will need to monitor themselves for symptoms over 14 days.

Orange and Osceola Counties enforce 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew

Mayor Jerry Demings announced the measure at a press conference Friday, as authorities ramp up efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Health care workers and other first responders are exempt from the curfew, and travel to and from work is allowed.

“We all think this is needed,” said Orange County Sheriff John Mina.

“We are not looking to arrest people, but we are looking to save lives in this community.”

Osceola County has also imposed a curfew from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m.

County leaders are urging residents to shelter in place and to stay home as much as possible unless working, shopping for necessities, getting food or attending to medical needs.

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