Hillsborough County EPG March 30 Meeting Summary and How to Report Social Distancing Violations
Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill told the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group (EPG) on Monday that he had signed leases for two hotels to use for COVID-19 coronavirus quarantine and isolation facilities should that become necessary.
Details on how the quarantine/isolation facilities will be managed and who will be eligible to stay there are being developed and will be announced later. The leases are for six months and 360 rooms.
In addition, County Office of Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley told EPG members that the Yuengling Center on the campus of the University of South Florida has been identified as a possible alternate-care location for COVID-19 patients in need of medical care should hospitals become overburdened.
The announcements were among several updates to the EPG on key initiatives related to COVID-19 that are in progress.
Other reports included:
- The County Is partnering with Tampa Family Health Care Centers and Suncoast Community Health Centers to provide in-home testing for homebound residents who are members of Hillsborough County's Health Care Plan.
- Social Services has adjusted eligibility processes in anticipation of additional requests for help as more people are impacted by the economic fallout.
- Public Utilities is making payment policy changes in order to ensure that customers will continue to receive water and wastewater services.
- Homeless Services is partnering with Tampa-Hillsborough Homeless Initiative, the City of Tampa and others to provide additional temporary housing, case management, and intervention strategies to help reduce the risk of virus transmission for persons experiencing homelessness.
- The County continues to identify resources for hard-hit businesses, and to reach out to CareerSource Tampa Bay to help displaced workers.
- HCFLGov.net, the County's website, logged more than 640,000 visits and 1.2 million page views from March 26-28, when interest in the Safer-at-Home order peaked. Forty videos have been viewed 58,000 times on YouTube.
- In other action, EPG members voted to add the classifications of "truck drivers" and "agricultural workers" to the list of those to have priority for hotel/motel rooms as defined under the Safer-at-Home order.
State of Local Emergency and the EPG
A state of local emergency is in effect in Hillsborough County in response to COVID-19. Under this declaration, County Administrator Mike Merrill has the authority to carry out all emergency responsibilities delegated by the EPG, including taking whatever prudent action is necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community.
The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group is comprised of three County Commissioners, the mayors from the cities of Plant City, Tampa, and Temple Terrace, the Sheriff, and Chairman of the School Board. Authority is granted by Article 8 of the Florida Constitution, Section 125.66 and Chapter 252, Florida Statutes. Hillsborough County enacted Hillsborough County Code of Ordinances and Laws Chapter 22, Article II, Sections 22-23 in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the County's residents during declared emergencies.
The Emergency Policy Group is next scheduled to meet virtually at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 2.
Safer-at-Home Order Violation? Here is How to Report It
As part of the Hillsborough County Safer-at-Home order that went into effect on March 27, residents of Hillsborough, including those in Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City, are required to stay at home if at all possible to help slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Many activities are still allowed, like enjoying recreation, going to the grocery store, visiting a pharmacy, and stopping by a restaurant for take-out. Non-essential businesses that are unable to maintain the required physical distancing of at least 6 feet to keep employees and customers safe, must close. For more details about Safer-at-Home, visit HCFLGov.net/SaferatHome.
- If residents believe a company or group is not complying with the order, they can call these numbers to register a report. Concerns about businesses not following social distancing rules: call the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulations at (850) 487-1395.
- Concerns about residents not adhering to social distancing regulations: call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office non-emergency line at (813) 247-8200.
Get Connected. Stay Alert.
For more information on COVID-19, and any other potential emergency in the county, visit HCFLGov.net/StaySafe and sign up for the HCFL Alert system. Additionally, you can follow Hillsborough County on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor for updates. For general County information, call (813) 272-5900, the County's main information line.