St. Pete mayor blasts Pinellas County’s ‘safer-at-home’ order, says it applies to city for now

“I have an order, and if I have to enter it, I will,” said Kriseman.

click to enlarge St. Pete mayor blasts Pinellas County’s ‘safer-at-home’ order, says it applies to city for now
Screengrab via City of St. Petersburg/Facebook

Earlier today, Pinellas County Commissioners issued a “safer-at-home” order that basically lets any business stay open during the coronavirus pandemic as long as they can maintain six-foot social distancing, as directed by the CDC. Well, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman isn’t happy.

Speaking at a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Kriseman vented his frustration with the county order, saying he agreed with most of it, except the absence of calling for non-essential businesses to close, calling it “a doughnut hole.” 

“That language basically allows everyone to go everywhere. It means that any business can remain open, as long as they believe or say that they can maintain social distance,” said Kriseman, who later said they will issue stricter rules in the City of St. Petersburg if members of his team see this “doughnut” being taken advantage of. 

“I have an order, and if I have to enter it, I will,” said Kriseman. “The difference is that non-essential businesses will have to close. That’s the essential difference.”

Today’s decision from Pinellas County came just shortly before Hillsborough County leaders agreed to hold a vote tomorrow on a countywide stay-at-home order that would not start until 10 p.m. on Friday, March 27. Details on that final order are still up in the air. 

“All of us are making these decisions daily, continued Kriseman, “and they're not decisions we've ever had to make before. However economies can be rebuilt. People can’t. The only way to truly save lives and to flatten the curve, is to suffer the short-term pain associated with a shutdown of all non-essential businesses and to stay home.”

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About The Author

Colin Wolf

Colin Wolf has been working with weekly newspapers since 2007 and has been the Digital Editor for Creative Loafing Tampa since 2019. He is also the Director of Digital Content Strategy for CL's parent company, Euclid Media Group.
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