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Hillsborough Co. to extend mandatory mask order for another week

This was likely the last time the current EPG will meet.

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group voted Monday to extend the mandatory mask order for another week. 

The EPG is made up of three County Commissioners, the Sheriff, Chairman of the School Board and mayors from Plant City, Tampa and Temple Terrace.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, Hillsborough County School District Chair Melissa Snively and Plant City Mayor Rick Lott dissented, voting against extending the mandatory mask order. 

Hillsborough County Commissioners Les Miller, Kimberly Overman and Sandra Murman, as well as Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Temple Terrace Acting Mayor Andy Ross voted to extend the mask order.

This is possibly the last time the current EPG will meet, with the County Commission likely voting Wednesday to take over emergency policy. 

“From the first meeting till now we had no idea what was going to occur,” Lott said at the meeting. “I think this is what democracy is all about. I think the rest of the nation could take good lessons from the way we’ve been able to go about doing business with the hard decisions and the facts that we have.” 

The EPG was put in charge of emergency policies after declaring a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 crisis back in March. Since then, the group has been meeting regularly to craft policy to combat the coronavirus pandemic in the county.

There are currently 30,450 coronavirus cases in Hillsborough County, including 1,290 hospitalizations and 348 deaths. 

The county’s adult ICU capacity is back above 10% Monday with 39 of the county’s 338 beds available. Hillsborough County also continued to drop its positivity rate, currently at less than 10% for the fifth day in a row. The seven-day average is at 9.8%.

The county had 8,775 COVID-19 testing appointments scheduled last week, but because of the threat of Tropical Storm Isaias, testing sites temporarily closed, completing only 8,342 tests last week.

Written By

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at kelly@floridapolitics.com.

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