COVID-19 Recovery Includes Reopening of Gyms and Fitness Centers in Hillsborough County

COVID-19 Coronavirus Update No. 115

Hillsborough County, Fla. (May 18, 2020) - Beginning today (Monday, May 18), gyms and fitness centers in Hillsborough County may reopen with restrictions, and restaurants and retail stores may accommodate additional customers under a new Executive Order issued by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Members of the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group heard a summary today of Executive Order 20-123, which brings all Florida counties into full Phase 1 of the governor's Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery. The order provides for the following:

  • Gyms and fitness centers are permitted to reopen at 50% of their building occupancy with social distancing in place and sanitization after each use of equipment.
  • Restaurants and food establishment may increase indoor service to 50% of seating capacity. However, bar counters remain closed to seating. Establishments must maintain social distancing in the seating and service of patrons in all areas of the restaurant, including a minimum of six feet between parties or use of a hard-surface partition that appropriately separates parties. The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation provides mandatory measures and best practices. The State also provides a helpful FAQ document with additional details. Go to
  • Retail sales establishments may operate at 50% of their building occupancy in concurrence with safety guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA.
  • Museums may expand admissions to 50% of their building occupancy.
  • Professional sports venues may open and operate for games, events, and training.
  • Amusement parks may submit a plan for reopening to the State.

The Emergency Policy Group has aligned Hillsborough County's COVID-19 coronavirus recovery to the statewide plan. For more information about what's allowed under the plan, go to and click on the "Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step." link.

In other action during the meeting, EPG members voted to scale back their twice-weekly meetings to once per week, on Thursdays at 1:30 p.m.

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 next EPG meeting is scheduled Thursday, May 21 at 1:30 p.m.

Other Hillsborough County News
Economic Development - Hillsborough County is still accepting applications for the Historic Preservation Challenge Grant Program through 3 p.m. Friday, May 29. Matching grants of up to $250,000 are available for qualifying non-residential projects that promote historic preservation, heritage tourism, and economic development within Hillsborough County. A new, fully-online application option and more information on the program are available at

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For more information on COVID-19, and any other potential emergency in the county visit 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.