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Hillsborough County curfew removed less than 3 days later in emotional vote

The Emergency Policy Group voted 8-0 to rescind the curfew that was passed on Monday.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Less than three days later, Hillsborough County leaders voted to remove a curfew amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Emergency Policy Group voted 8-0 to rescind the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew during a meeting Thursday. The curfew was originally passed and enacted on Monday.

School board chair Melissa Snively brought up the motion to rescind the curfew at the beginning of the meeting, and her move was seconded by Plant City Mayor Rick Lott.

Commissioner Les Miller, who pushed for the curfew during the original vote, got emotional when talking about the feedback he's relieved from the public in the last several days.

Miller said he's been called racial slurs and a Nazi after voting to pass the curfew. He said his motives were not political in nature, but rather because he doesn't want Hillsborough County to be an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I'm trying to save lives in this county," Miller said. "I made that motion -- and you voted (talking to the group) -- because you thought it was the right thing to do."

RELATED: Coronavirus in Florida: Hillsborough County votes to remove curfew after less than 3 days

RELATED: Hillsborough County curfew now in effect as leaders consider mandatory masks

Sheriff Chad Chronister stepped into the conversation Thursday by saying while he voted for the curfew, he now feels the group moved too fast. 

"I will always err on the side of caution...but the data clearly shows we should not continue the curfew," Chronister said. "Continuing a curfew is redundant."

Commissioner Kimberly Overman agreed, saying the curfew had "the right intent" but that it caused some confusion among residents.

"It's imperative that our citizens follow the stay at home guidelines," Overman said. "With rights come the responsibility for...yourself and for others around you."

The Sheriff's Office reports over 300 violations of the safer-at-home order since March 27, 2020. There has only been one arrest. Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was charged after bringing hundreds of people together for a church service.

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