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Tampa mayor will issue stay-at-home order to combat spread of coronavirus despite county's hesitation

The order limits all movement outside homes, but there are exceptions for "essential services." Hillsborough County, however, says not so fast.

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Mayor Jane Castor will issue a stay-at-home order to keep city residents in their homes and combat the spread of COVID-19. 

She said during a news conference Tuesday it likely will go into effect at midnight Thursday.

The order “immediately limits all movement outside...beyond what is necessary to take care of ‘essential services’ or ‘necessary activities.’”

When outside the home doing “essential services” or “necessary activities,” the city said people should stay at least six feet away from others to continue social distancing.

As the mayor pushes for a stay-at-home order, Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill released his own statement Tuesday afternoon, saying "to ensure unity of action throughout the county," there will be no stay-at-home order anywhere.

It reads: 

"Pursuant to the discussions which took place at the Emergency Policy Group meeting of March 23, 2020 the vote by the Group to not institute a Stay-at-Home Order at this time, and in order to ensure unity of action throughout the county, I am confirming that decision by directing that no Stay-at-Home order shall be applicable in any portion of Hillsborough County until further direction by the Emergency Policy Group, unless as may be necessary under my delegated authority."

City spokeswoman Ashley Bauman replied to the county:

"The Mayor will continue to take the steps necessary to protect the residents of Tampa."

What are you allowed to do under a stay-at-home order? 

The city says you can:

  • Go to the grocery store, a convenience store of a warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy
  • Go to medical appointments
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out or drive-thru
  • Care or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride a bike, hike, go jogging and be in nature for exercise -- still, practice social distancing
  • Walk pets and take them to the vet if necessary
  • Help someone get necessary supplies

RELATED: COVID-19 in Florida: 1,412 cases, first death reported in Pinellas County

RELATED: Coronavirus live updates: Trump hopes country will be reopened by Easter despite outbreak

What should you not do under a stay-at-home order? 

The city says to NOT:

  • Go to work, unless you’re providing essential services
  • Visit friends or family if there’s no urgent need
  • Be closer than six feet from others
  • Visit loved ones or friends in the hospital, nursing home or other health care facility.

Castor has been pushing the idea of the stay-at-home order but was not in support of a curfew, which Hillsborough County is considering. She said the order “isn’t going to be as onerous as putting a curfew in place.”

"[We're] asking individuals to stay inside, stay away from each other... [with] exemptions for all essential businesses ..." Castor said Monday. "If we continue to put off, and off, and off for more information, more people are going to get the virus.”

"If we're going to wait on the governor, [Gov. Ron DeSantis], he clearly has no intention for any statewide action. ... The more we kick this issue down the road, the more people that are going to die in our community,” she said.

What jobs are essential during a stay-at-home order? 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided this list:

  • Health care/public health
  • Law enforcement/public safety/first responders
  • Food and agriculture
  • Electricity industry
  • Petroleum workers
  • Natural/propane gas workers
  • Water and wastewater
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Public works
  • Communications and information technology
  • Other community-based government operations and essential functions
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Hazardous materials
  • Financial services
  • Chemical
  • Defense industrial base

Is your job essential? 

Find out more details about these categories here.

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