Hillsborough County curfew now in effect as leaders consider mandatory masks
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CORONAVIRUS TAMPA (3)
The curfew runs each night from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group enacted a countywide curfew from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. seven days a week beginning Monday night.

The group voted 5-3 in favor of the ordinance with Hillsborough County Commissioner Kimberly Overman, Plant City Mayor Rick Lott and Temple Terrace City Council member Andy Ross voting no.

Hillsborough County Commissioners Les Miller and Sandra Murman, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister and School Board member Melissa Snively voted in favor of the curfew.

The curfew applies to any non-essential activities as prescribed in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ statewide stay-at-home order, meaning that trips for essential items at grocery stores or pharmacies would still be allowed. It also would not apply to individuals traveling to or from work.

The curfew is meant to give law enforcement an easier opportunity to enforce social distancing guidelines in effect throughout the state.

Miller moved to implement the curfew, noting that his office has learned of countless examples of large gatherings of people breaking the rules. At one point, he said, a group of more than 100 people had to be broken up.

“We must do something today about these social gatherings and parties,” Miller said. “I don’t want to say they don’t care, but they just think they’re invincible.”

Supporters argued the curfew would complement the county’s safer-at-home order, which already blocks any non-essential activity and bars gatherings of 10 or more individuals. It also provides an opportunity for greater educational outreach.

Detractors, however, argued the curfew would be redundant and send the wrong message to residents.

“I’m not sure what we’re going to do with violators that we can’t already do,” Ross said.

He also pointed out information from Chronister noting that most reported violations have occurred during the day or evening and would not be affected by the curfew.

The group also discussed an order mandating individuals to wear facial coverings in public. Castor suggested masking after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated universal mask-wearing could be effective in helping to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The board instructed county staff to disseminate information to the policy group and begin reaching out to the community to educate the public and give them time to locate facial coverings before an order goes into place.

The group is expected to vote on that mandate Thursday. If approved, it would go into effect immediately.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


4 comments

  • Ward Posey

    April 13, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    I hate to see this happen, but it is necessary. The problem is that you have idiots (trump supporters) listening to their head idiot (trump) when he poo-poos the virus and tells them basically to disobey the law. Until he shuts his fat bloated pie hole, we will have difficulty enforcing virus prevention regulations.

    • Stephanie

      April 13, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      Gee, you must be a Democrat when you support Orwellian laws. I voted for Trump. I go to the grocery store once a week for less than an hour and I am home the rest of the time. I assure you the neighbors having parties across the street from me three to four times a week might be Democrats, though. I just want to work, like most productive members of society. I will assume you aren’t one because you care less about the workers this will affect in the restaurant business, gas stations,etc. How about getting over your TDS and put the blame where it should be: CHINA… CHINA… CHINA. Your statements are based on your emotions alone, not facts. He has never said to disobey the law. Get some therapy.

    • Karen

      April 13, 2020 at 9:20 pm

      Ward, I see you’re top idiot, in your neighborhood. You’re a lemming. A tool; a fool.

  • Cherie. Wisniewski

    April 14, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    I understand the curfew but did they not think this through before they voted the 9p.m. there are businesses that are open till 12 pm still people working trying to make a payroll and paycheck really stupid did anybody stop and think and really look at the overall picture before you did this. And then you turn around and have the next County going to possibly open up the beaches. This is one hand not paying attention to what the other is doing.Let’s get it together!

Comments are closed.


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