Hillsborough County leaders to discuss reopening local economy
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Back to normal. Hand turns dice and changes the expression "corona life" to "normal life".
The county will discuss data strategies for successfully beginning to return to normal.

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group (EPG) will discuss plans to reopen the local economy during a meeting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

The group discussed beginning talks during a meeting Monday, but in a memo to EPG members Thursday ahead of the meeting, County Administrator Mike Merrill laid out more specific strategies to discuss.

Merrill wrote that he was already working with medical experts and the Department of Health on strategies to present the group.

Those strategies, he cautioned, could ultimately be limited by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ statewide order lifting social distancing restrictions, which is expected by May 1.

“Nevertheless, we believe a community conversation here in Hillsborough is necessary and valuable. In fact, all the credible authorities on this subject emphasize that not all communities across the country manifest the virus in exactly the same way and, therefore, successful solutions and approaches to managing a re-opening should not be the same,” he wrote.

The letter outlines the “underpinning” for “building blocks” for reopening the economy.

The county should, Merrill wrote, implement “robust data collection, analytics and modeling to ensure we are achieving our intended outcomes and to facilitate a rapid readjustment in the strategy if necessary.”

Merrill said the county should also ensure new developments and understanding associated with COVID-19 are incorporated into county actions.

Several medical experts and officials will help drive the conversation including Dr. Doug Holt, director of the County Department of Health and Drs. Donna Petersen and Marissa Levine of University of South Florida Health and Dr. John Curran, formerly of USF Health. Eric Eisenberg, Dean of the USF School of Arts & Sciences, will moderate the discussion.

“Together, they will begin to lay the groundwork for a community discussion based on the building blocks described,” Merrill wrote.

The EPG meeting, held virtually, can be viewed on Hillsborough County’s website, its YouTube page or on its Facebook page.

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].


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