Mayor Jane Castor wants residents to end the year in a safe manner, she urged in a Public Service Announcement ahead of New Year’s Eve.
“Let’s be honest, we can all agree that 2020 has been a bit of a dumpster fire,” Castor said in the PSA. “But the end’s in sight — and we need you to be the fire extinguisher.”
In the PSA, Castor reminds residents of her Executive Order 2020-42, requiring individuals to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces. Hillsborough County also has a mandatory mask mandate.
The county also recently expanded rules on businesses to crack down on the rise of COVID-19 cases. Castor also highlighted the Lift Up Local initiative, which allows businesses to expand their outdoor seating capacity during the pandemic. The initiative has been extended until April 4, 2021.
In order to encourage businesses to operate responsibly, the city has also launched the Safe & Sound initiative, which partners with local business owners who can take a self-assessment survey and comply with standards in order to earn a sticker they can display to alert consumers.
Castor’s PSA is just another effort from the city to cut down on the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community. Tampa put out a #HappyatHomeTPA initiative for the holidays, and a “Choose you mask” marketing campaign prior to that offering a grim choice between a face covering and a ventilator.
According to Florida Department of Health data released Tuesday, Hillsborough had a 32.56% positivity rate on Monday. That’s well over double the previous day, which was a recent high, and the highest by far since the pandemic landed in Florida in March.
The high rate means that even with fewer than 1,600 tests received, 758 more cases of COVID-19 were tallied from Monday morning to Tuesday morning, brining Hillsborough County’s total tally to 75,547.
There was good news in Hillsborough. Tuesday’s DOH report showed no new confirmed deaths from the virus and just 10 new hospitalizations.
“We’re going to get through this together and come out stronger than ever,” Castor concludes in the PSA. “Thank you so much for all you have sacrificed during this pandemic.