On Thursday afternoon, Hillsborough leaders voted to let the county’s safer-at-home order expire next week, in an effort to not create confusion with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recently announced plan to reopen the state.
The county’s Emergency Policy Group voted 7-1 to let the order expire at midnight on Monday, May 4, with only Tampa Mayor Jane Castor voting no.“I see no point in this,” said Castor, after pointing out that the governor's order was nearly identical to the local order.
It’s important to note that since the governor’s order does not supersede local laws, Hillsborough County could keep restrictions in place after Monday if they felt the need to. And, while certain businesses could essentially reopen next week, county leaders stated that residents must continue to maintain social distancing practices.
Hillsborough County’s stay-at-home order has been in effect since Friday, March 27.
During the meeting, County Administrator Mike Merrill also stated that Hillsborough County will begin opening up some county parks and nature preserves on May 4, including Flatwoods Conservation Park, Morris Bridge Off-Road Biking Area, Alderman's Ford Conservation Park, and Upper Tampa Bay Trail. He also stated that some walking trails will reopen at local community centers, as well.
As of now City of Tampa parks, except The Riverwalk and Bayshore, remain closed.
The EPG is scheduled to meet again on Monday at 1:30 p.m.
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