To further protect the public against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Hillsborough County's Emergency Policy Group (EPG) enacted an order requiring that face coverings be worn inside businesses that are open to the public, with certain exceptions.
The order applies to all persons, including customers and employees, inside Hillsborough County businesses that are open to the public when social distancing cannot be maintained. The order is effective immediately. The City of Tampa has a separate order.
The COVID-19 state of local emergency declaration has been in place in Hillsborough County since March 12, enacted by the former Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group.
On August 5, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners approved an amendment to the County's Emergency Management Ordinance that dissolved the EPG and restored emergency management authority for all disasters, hurricanes/tropical storms, emergency occurrences, pandemics, and other threats back to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).
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Face Coverings FAQs
When does this requirement take effect?
The order is now in effect.
What is the definition of a "business"?
"Business" means any commercial or for-profit entity (regardless of corporate structure or formation) that provides goods or services directly to the public. "Business" also includes nonprofit and not-for-profit entities which offer goods or services for sale to the general public in indoor locations.
Where and when does the Board's order require me to wear a face covering?
Any time you visit the indoor portion of a commercial, for-profit, or non-profit business that provides goods or services to the public and you are not maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others, excluding family members or others residing in your home.
My business is not open to the public. Does the Board's order apply to me?
No. The Board's order does not require people working in a business or profession not open to the public to wear face coverings.
What about young children?
The Board's order includes an exception for children under the age of 5.
Does my child have to wear a face covering while participating in an organized sport?
Children under the age of 18 do not have to wear face coverings when participating in organized youth sports.
I have a breathing condition that makes me unable to wear a mask or face covering. Do I still have to?
No. Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition are exempt from the Board's order.
Does the Board's order require me to disclose my specific condition?
The order prohibits business operators and their employees from asking for specifics or documentation if a customer claims an exception for health reasons, or denying admittance or service to that person for not wearing a face covering.
Does the Board's order require me to wear a face covering to church?
No. The Board's order does not apply to religious organizations or private clubs.
Does the Board's order require me to wear a face covering when I'm walking my dog or jogging?
No. The Board's order only applies when persons are inside a commercial, for-profit or non-profit business that provides goods or services to the public and not maintaining social distancing (at least six feet) from others. However, for your own protection and the protection of others, the CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
How long will the Board's order requiring face coverings be in place?
The face coverings order is in effect throughout the County Commission's declared COVID-19 state of local emergency unless rescinded or amended.
- Any business establishment (including bars, nightclubs, and restaurants) serving food onsite may only serve food or drinks to patrons seated at a table or bar.
- Bars, nightclubs, and restaurants shall not permit congregation of unseated persons in any area, except for groups of patrons awaiting seating and remaining socially distanced in groups not larger than 10, all of whom must be companions.
- These prohibitions are intended to prohibit dance floor areas within any bar, nightclub, or restaurant or other areas allowing congregation of unseated persons.