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Local Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Posted By: Eric Garduño Advocacy News , Coronavirus (COVID-19) , Industry News ,

BAAA is providing links and summaries as background information for members on recent actions taken by local and State government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This resource is based on the best available information and should not be considered comprehensive.  It is important to note that it is your company and/or community’s responsibility to make operational, policy, or staffing decisions based on a thorough review of ordinances/legislation/orders passed, internal review and consultation with legal counsel.  Nothing contained within this document should be considered legal advice or social guidance.

It is also important to recognize that BAAA, NAA, NMHC and individual members are not health care professionals. The CDC and other qualified health officials should continue to be the primary source of current information and guidance. BAAA, NAA & NMHC are offering general, precautionary guidance from officials, and adding some common-sense guidelines for our industry in the interest of promoting a proper amount of caution at this time.


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Governor DeSantis has extended the previous eviction moratorium through October 1, 2020 with not changes to its content.  The Governor issued the extension late on August 31 via Executive Order 20-2011.  


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Governor DeSantis has extended the State's eviction moratorium through September 1, 2020 and has made some key modifications to the moratorium.  The Governor issued the extension late on July 29, via Executive Order 20-180.  The moratorium now applies to the final action at the conclusion of an eviction proceeding (previously, it applied to filing an eviction action).  The order reiterates that the extension applies only to cases of nonpayment of rent but now expressly requires that the resident must have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency.  The order then defines adversely affected to include "loss of employment, diminished wages or business income, or other monetary loss realized during the Florida State of Emergency directly impacting the ability of a residential tenant to make rent payments."  The order also states that "all payments, including tolled payments, are due when an individual is no longer adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency."


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

On Monday, July 27, the Manatee County Commission adopted Emergency Resolution R-20-116, which requires the use of face coverings in business establishments.  The resolution went into effect immediately and will continue while the County is in a State of Emergency.  Per the resolution, a “business establishment” means a location with a roof overhead under which any business is conducted, goods are made or stored or processed or where services are rendered.  Exceptions to the requirement include in businesses where individuals can maintain 6 feet from each other, children under six, people with breathing problems, and restaurant patrons while eating and drinking.  Businesses are required to display conspicuous signage notifying customers of this requirement.  Violations of the resolution will be subject to a noncriminal infraction with scaling penalties from a written warning for a first offense to a $250 fine for the fourth and subsequent offenses.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners passed an ordinance that protects the right of individuals to wear face coverings.  Individuals may wear face coverings as protective personal equipment in any indoor or outdoor location.  Employees and contractors cannot be denied the right to wear face coverings, however employers may prohibit the use of face coverings that display nonbusiness-related lettering, wording, logos, or other insignia.  In such cases, the employer shall provide the employee/contractor a personal protective face covering.  Violations of this order are subject to a warning for a first offence, a $150 fine for a second office, and a $250 fine for a third of subsequent offence. 

Effective 12:01 on Friday, July 17, pursuant to emergency ordinance No 3067, businesses in the City of Bradenton will be required to post signage encouraging people to wear face coverings.  Businesses are defined to include public lodging establishments, which apartment communities are considered.  Signs must be placed at each public point of entry and they must either 1) advise persons entering that face coverings are required or requested to be worn within the business establishment or 2) notify persons entering that the CDC recommends the wearing of face coverings in public, particularly where social distancing cannot be maintained.  In no way does order require people to wear face coverings.  The ordinance does not specify any penalties for noncompliance.


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Effective 5:00PM on July 14, pursuant to a City of Winter Haven emergency ordinance, face coverings must be worn in any indoor location not their home if they are not social distancing.  This requirement includes various exceptions, including but not limited to children under the age of 8, while eating and drinking, and when working in a business where you do not interact with others.  Both individuals and business are subject to a $150 fine for violating this requirement.  For businesses to comply with this order, they must 1) post signage about the face covering requirement, 2) announcing the requirement over the businesses public address system, if possible; 3) requiring employees to wear face coverings, unless they are exempt; and 4) make a “reasonable effort” to get customers to wear a face covering, which can include asking them to wear said face covering.  


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

On Monday July 6, the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group amended their face covering order in some important ways. 

First, businesses must make reasonable efforts to ensure their customers wear face covering when indoors and physical distancing cannot be maintained, however the ordinance now spells out what reasonable steps are.  These steps are 1) signage regarding face covering requirements must be posted at entrances, 2) announcements of face covering requirements must be broadcast over the PA (only if the established has PA), 3) all employees not exempt from wearing a face covering are wearing one, and 4) the business asks the customer to wear a face covering if they aren’t already doing so.  If businesses take all these steps, they will not be held liable for any penalties if customers continue not to wear face coverings.

Second, enforcement of the order will apply to individuals, as well as businesses.  The earlier order only penalized businesses for people on their premises not complying with the face covering order. Now individuals can be help responsible for wearing a face covering and penalized if they are not in compliance.

Third, the default penalty for noncompliance for either a business or an individual is a non-criminal civil citation of $150 dollars.  That said, law enforcement retains the ability to enforce the order as a second-degree misdemeanor. 

Lastly, the exemption for people not to wear face coverings due to existing health conditions is modified to clarify that a business cannot require a person to specify what the health condition or supply documentation of the condition, and a business cannot deny such a person admission for not wearing a face covering.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020 Update**State Suspension of Writs of Possession Extension**

Please note, during a declared State of Emergency, an increase in rent that represents a "gross disparity" between what the price was 30 days prior to the declaration and the proposed increase is prohibited (per FL Statute 501.160). The declared State of Emergency remains in effect until July 7, 2020.

  • NEW- Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-159 that suspends any eviction cause of action for non-payment until August 1, 2020.
  • Governor DeSantis extended the State of Emergency until July 7, 2020.
  • The Florida Supreme Court issued an Amendment to Administrative Order (AOSC20-23) that "extends, refines and strengthens" previously enacted measures, including Writs of Possession filings until June 30, 2020. Typically, Administrative Orders are up for interpretation by County Clerks. Amendment 4 to Administrative Order 20-23 (Writs of Possession Page 17)

Monday, June 29,2020 (7:00PM) Update

Effective 12:01AM on July 1, pursuant to a City of Sarasota emergency ordinance, face coverings must be worn in indoor and outdoor public locations and businesses within city limits.  This requirement includes various exceptions, including but not limited to when proper physical or social distancing can be observed, children under the age of 18, while eating and drinking, and when working in a business who do not interact with others, who maintain social distancing from others, or where a face covering would prevent them from performing their duties.  Violations of the order are subject to a non-criminal fine of up to $500.00.

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group amended the County's face covering order as it relates to children.  Now, children under 8 years are no longer required to wear face coverings.  Additionally, children under 18 who are involved in youth sports or in day care also no longer are required to wear face coverings.  


Monday, June 29,2020 (1:00PM) Update

Effective Saturday, June 27, at 8:00AM, pursuant to City of Anna Maria Executive Order 33 that requires everyone in the city to use a face covering while indoors when not social distancing.  The order various exceptions, including for children under 2, and eating and drinking, and for persons in an office when all interaction with others conforms with CDC’s social distancing guidance. Violations of the order are subject to a $50 fine.

Effective Sunday, June 28, at 5:00PM, pursuant to City of Holmes Beach an emergency ordinance , everyone is required to use face coverings inside businesses establishments.  Owners, managers, and employees of business establishments must deny entry and compel removal of anyone who fails to use a face covering.  This requirement includes various exceptions, including but not limited to when patrons are eating and drinking, exercising if they are six feet apart, and employees in non-public areas who maintain six feet apart.  Violations of the order are subject to a $250.00 for the first offense, and $500.00 for each subsequent offense.

Hillsborough County has announced that recycling collections for some residents will be temporarily suspended due to a man power shortage stemming from COVID-19.  This effects collections carried out by one of the three companies - Waste Collections - that currently serves Hillsborough County.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Over the last several days, multiple municipalities have establshed face covering orders/ordinances to help curb the spred of COVID-19.  A detailed summary of these orders/ordinances can be found on this blog post.


Monday, June 22, 2020 (6:00PM) Update

On Monday, June 22, the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group voted to implement a face covering order beginning Wednesday, 6/24, at 5PM.  Specifically, the order directs business operators to require face coverings for employees and patrons for indoor areas of their businesses open to the public. Noncompliance with this order is punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor.  A draft copy of the order is available here, however this draft was amended during the EPG meeting, however amendments were made during the EPG meeting.  Most importantly, the amended order removes enforcement of the order against individuals and enforcement can only be directed to businesses.


Friday, June 19, (4:00PM) Update

A copy of the City of Tampa Executive Order 2020-27 requiring use of face coverings has been posted.  According to the order, everyone who lives, works in, or visits the City of Tampa is required to use a face covering when indoors when not maintaining social distance from others.  There are numerous exceptions to this requirement, including for people in their homes/residences, children under 2 years old, and people in a business or profession who do not have interactions with others, among others.  The order notes that N95 masks should not be used and instead be reserved for health care professionals and first responders.  Enforcement will be carried out via fines of up to $500.


Friday, June 19, 2020 (8:00AM) Update

According to a Facebook announcement posted by the City of Tampa, pursuant to an executive order by Mayor Jane Castor, beginning on Friday, June 19 at 5PM, anyone in the City of Tampa will be required to wear a face mask in all indoor locations outside the home when they are unable to maintain 6 feet of separation from others.  The order will not apply when people are outside.  The order will be enforced through civil citation.  The City can supply a mask for anyone who doesn’t have one.  Exceptions will be made, for instance while eating and drinking in at restaurant.

Early next week, both the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group and the Pinellas County Commission are scheduled to consider measures to require use of face masks in each County.  


Thursday, June 18, 2020 (9:00AM) Update

Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-24 issued by the St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, beginning on Friday, 6/19 at 5PM, businesses in the City of St. Petersburg will be required to have all employees wear face coverings while in an area of the business that is open to the public.  These face coverings much be worn in a manner that covers the face and nose.  Certain exceptions are permitted, for instance a face covering is not required if it is fundamentally incompatible with a job task or wearing a face covering would be detrimental to health, safety, or security.

The order also requires businesses to develop a written COVID-19 mitigation and contingency plan that addresses CDC and OSHA guidance.  Specific guidance documents the written mitigation and contingency plan must address include the CDC’s “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019” and “Resuming Business Toolkitand OSHA’sGuidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.” 

In some cases, there may be applicable guidance to specific industries – for instance, the CDC’s “COVID-19 Guidance for Shared or Congregate Housing” and Florida’s DBPR “Information for Gyms and Fitness Centers.” Where such additional guidance supplements CDC and OSHA guidance, it must also be incorporated into the written mitigation and contingency plan.  Where such guidance conflicts with CDC and OSHA guidance, the industry specific guidance supersedes the CDC and OSHA guidance.  Businesses are expected to incorporate into their written mitigation and contingency plans any changes in applicable guidance as those changes are made.

Businesses must ensure each employee receives a copy of the written mitigation and contingency plan, receive training regarding compliance with the plan, and that each employ complies with the plan.  The plan must also be available to patrons and that aspects of the plan that apply to patrons (i.e. social distancing or face coverings) are clearly communicated via signage or other appropriate means.  Violations of this ordinance are punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 60 days, or any combination thereof.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 (5:00PM) Update

On 6/17, City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman issued City executive order 2020-24 which states that starting at 5:00PM on Friday, 6/19, all businesses will be required to have their employees wear a face mask or covering while in areas of the business open to the public.  The Mayor's office will also be working on drafting an order to require everyone to wear a mask while out in public, however no date has been provided as to when that order will be released of come into effect.  

Also on 6/17, the Hillsborough County Commission voted to request the County Attorney to draft an ordinance that would protect the right of individuals to wear face masks, including while performing their job.  This ordinance would prevent a business from barring their employees from wearing masks.  The ordinance will be scheduled for a vote at the July 15 Commission meeting.


Wednesday, June 2, 2020 (5:30PM) Update

On 6/2 Government DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-139.  This order becomes effective on June 5, and begins Phase 2 of Florida’s reopening.  Key provisions under this order include:

  • All persons are encouraged, but are not required, to follow appropriate social distancing and safety protocols by the CDC and OSHA.  People are encouraged to avoid congregating in groups larger than 50 persons

  • All in-store retail, including gyms and fitness centers, should maintain appropriate social distancing and sanitation protocols. Restaurants and bars may operate at 50% of indoor capacity, excluding employees.  Bar areas may be open with seated services. 

  • Entertainment businesses including movie theaters, auditoriums, bowling alleys and arcades may operate at fifty percent building capacity, with appropriate social distancing between groups and appropriate sanitation.

  • Personal services, like tattooing, may operate with appropriate safety guideline as outlined by the Department of Health.

  • Local governments are allowed to continue to use virtual meetings to conduct business through June 30, 2020.

  • Travel restrictions and self-quarantine requirements for people coming from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are extended; such restrictions for people from Louisiana are discontinued.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 (9:00AM) Update

Late on June 1, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order20-137 that extends the suspension of evictions and foreclosures until July 1st, 2020.  This moratorium on evictions to apply specifically to non-payment of rent by residential tenants due to the COVID-19 emergency


Thursday, May 28, 2020 (6:00PM) Update

Over the last several days, the State has approved plans for vacation rentals in Citrus, Hernando, Highlands, HIllsborough, Pasco, and Polk counties.  These counties join Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties whose plans were approved last week.  Per Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-123 which completed the full phase one reopening, counties must submit plans to the State for approval before vacation rentals in those counties can receive guests again. The plans include cleaning requirements, information that must be shared with guests, and restrictions on guests that are allowed to stay in the vacation rental.  For a summary of these restrictions and copies of each County's plans, please visit our Emergency Management - COVID-19 page.  

Today the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners voted to lift restrictions on pools and playgrounds.  Under current rules, operators of public pools, including pools available at apartment communities, are required to limit the number of people in those pools to 50% capacity.  Also under current rules, all public children's playgrounds must be closed.  Per the resolution adopted today, effective June 1 there will be no express limitations on the number of people who can be in a pool at once and public children's playgrounds may be open.  The resolution continues to encourage social distancing, approriate sanitation, and use of face masks.


Friday, May 22, 2020 (9:00AM) Update

On May 20, the Centers for Disease Control updated their guidance, “Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19.”  The Florida Department of Health also has information on public pools, including guidance on voluntary pool closures.  Pinellas county has also provided specific guidance on reopening pools, that includes limiting capacity to 50% and having users maintain social distancing.

Executive Order 20-123, which brought Florida into full Phase 1, became effective Monday, May 18.  The order allowed restaurants, retail stores, and museums to operate from 25% of building capacity to 50% of building capacity.  The order also reopened gyms and fitness centers, allowing them to also operate up to 50% of building capacity.  Gyms and fitness centers are required to adopt safety measures including appropriate social distancing for classes and sufficient cleaning supplies to ensure, at a minimum, patrons' individual self-cleaning of surfaces and machines using sanitation wipes following each use. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has provided “Information for Gyms and Fitness Centers” which outlines both mandatory safety measures and best practices.

This week the State has approved plans for vacation rentals in Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties to reopen.  Per Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-123 which completed the full phase one reopening, counties must submit plans to the State for approval before vacation rentals in those counties can receive guests again.  It has been reported that Hillsborough and Hernando counties have also submitted plans and are awaiting the State’s response.  For each county, the plans include detailed guidance for vacation rental owners and managers that address restrictions, guest and employee safety, and cleanliness of the rental, among other things. Each County’s guide and key restriction on who can rent is listed below:

Pinellas County Vacation Rental Guide – Vacation rentals to people from areas identified by Governor DeSantis as high risk, through Executive Orders, must be for periods longer than the quarantine period established in that Order.

Manatee County Vacation Rental Guide – Reservations can only be issued to U.S. residents who live in areas with coronavirus rates no higher than 700 cases per 100,000 residents as of May 15, 2020. Reservations from areas identified by Florida’s Governor as COVID-19 hot spots through Executive Orders are to be avoided for the next 45 days.  Reservations from international travelers will not be accepted.

Sarasota County Vacation Rental Guide – Vacation rentals may accept guests from U.S. states with an overall COVID-19 Case Rate within the state of less than 700 cases/100K residents as of May 15, 2020. Reservations from areas identified by Florida’s Governor as COVID-19 hot spots through Executive Orders are to be avoided for the next 45 days.  Reservations from international travelers will not be accepted.


Friday, May 15, 2020 (6:00PM) Update

On 5/15 during a press conference, Governor DeSantis announced that he would implement full phase one reopening of the State.  This includes allowing gyms and fitness centers to reopen, provided they are able to practice social distancing and equipment is sanitized after use.  This also will allow restaurants, retail establishments, museums, and libraries to accommodate up to 50% of building capacity.  The reopening of vacation rentals will be based on counties providing the State a safety plan to guide reopening.  The Governor noted that if plans include such things as renting to people from COVID-19 hotspots like New York, the State will not approve the plans.  Amusement parks may also develop and submit reopening plans and will also need local jurisdiction approval to proceed with opening.  The Governor noted that he has chosen not to reopen movie theaters or bars at this time. 

The Centers for Disease Control will host a webinar on "Consideration for Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19" on Monday, May 18 at 4:00PM. Follow this like to register. Presenters include Dr. Grant Baldwin (CDC's COVID-19 Community Interventions and At-Risk Task Force) & Dr. Jennifer Murphy (CDC's Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Team Lead).  The CDC will take questions ahead of the event - please email your questions to eocevent337@cdc.gov with "Partner Call 5/18" in the subject line. The call will be recorded and posted here on the CDC's website


Friday, May 15, 2020 (9:00AM) Update

On May 20, the Centers for Disease Control updated their guidance, “Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19.”  The Florida Department of Health also has information specific to public pools, including guidance on voluntary pool closures.  Pinellas county has also provided specific guidance on reopening pools, that includes limiting capacity to 50% of capacity and having users maintain social distancing.

On 5/14, Governor DeSantis signed executive order 20-121 that extends the previous moritorium on evictions and foreclosures thorugh June 2.  That previous suspended evictions under Florida law solely as it relates to non-payment of rent by residential tenants due to the COVID-19 emergency.

During a press conference on 5/14, Governor DeSantis briefly mentioned that gyms may be allowed to reopen in the near future.  Some reports suggest that the reopening of gyms will be part of a phase two reopening of the State that will also allow increased capacity at restaurants and retail, vacation rentals for in-state guests, and the opening of bars and large venue locations like movie theaters and theme parks, but at limited capacity.  A formal announcement by the Governor concerning new reopenings is expected sometime later today, 5/15.


Monday, May 11, 2020 (3:00PM) Update

On 5/8, the Centers for Disease Control issue new guidance "Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19."  This guidance addresses public swimming pools, including specifically pools at apartment complexes.  It includes guidance for users of the pool, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and protections for employees responsible for maintaining pools.  


Thursday, April 30 (6:00PM) Update

On 4/29, Governor DeSantis signed two executive orders.  The first order, 20-111, extended the current State-wide Stay at Home order through Monday, May 4 at 12:01AM.  The second order, 20-112, becomes effective May 4 at 12:01AM and permits limited reopening of specific sectors.  This order is applicable to all counties except Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.  Key aspects of this first phase of State’s reopening include:

      Overall General Guidelines

  • All persons in Florida shall continue to limit their personal interactions outside the home;
  • Groups larger than 10 are not allowed to congregate in public spaces;
  • Senior citizens and individuals with significant underlying medical conditions are strongly encouraged to stay at home;
  • People must continue to self-isolate for 14 days after returning from a cruise, any international travel, and any area with a significant presence of COVID-19. 

      Entities allowed to remain open, or to reopen include:

  • Essential businesses;
  • Restaurants, but only at 25% capacity for indoor seating; outdoor seating is permitted; parties must be 6 feet from each other; groups larger than 10 may not be served;
  • In-store retail establishments, but only at 25% building occupancy;
  • Museums and libraries, but only at 25% of building occupancy and if local governments permit; interactive exhibits, including play areas, must remain closed;
  • All entities should continue to follow applicable CDC and OSHA guidance.

      Entities that must remain closed include:

  • Gyms and fitness centers;
  • Vacation rentals;
  • Bars, pubs, and nightclubs;
  • Businesses that provide personal care services like hair salons.

Local and State law enforcement will enforce these rules, including restaurant/business capacity restrictions; violations are punishable as a second degree misdemeanor; regulatory agencies will also enforce these rules for regulated entities. For additonal details on these new guidelines and additional guidance not discussed above, please consult the order and FAQs provided with the order. 

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group voted on 4/30 to end the County’s Safer-at-Home order as of Monday, May 4, opting to support the one set of rules provided by Governor DeSantis to regulate individual and business conduct going forward.   

Hillsborough County will open some of its nature preserves on Saturday, May 2, and some conservation parks and walking trails on Monday, May 4.  A list is provided here.  All remaining parks will remain closed for the time being.

On 4/30 the Sarasota County Commission voted to reopen beach parking and allow coolers, chairs, and canopies back on the beach starting May 4.  Social distancing rules and limits on groups larger than 10 will continue to be enforced.


Wednesday, April 29 (6:00PM) Update

In a 4/29 press conference Governor DeSantis announced that Florida will begin a phased reopening of the State beginning Monday, May 4.  This reopening however will no apply to Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties since they continue to be the areas of the State with the most prevalence of COVID-19. 

Under this first phase of reopening, elective surgeries will be allowed, restaurants may have outdoor seating provided tables are 6 feet apart and indoor seating may resume at 25% capacity, and retail stores may also operate at 25% capacity.  Social distancing will continue to be in effect, as will bans of groups of 10 or more.  Face masks will be recommended for all face-to-face interactions.  Particularly vulnerable populations should continue to minimize interaction with people outside the household.  Bars, movie theaters, and gyms will continue to be closed.  The State will collect and analyze data on the effects of these changes, looking closely at any increases in positive tests and hospitalizations.  This data will be key in determining when/whether Florida will move to a second phase of reopening. 


Wednesday, April 29 (12:00PM) Update

Hillsborough County government announced that is cancelling all of its events and meetings, including public hearings, through May 15, 2020.  The closure impacts all formal programming at Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries, Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation facilities, Aging Services’ Senior Centers, and scheduled events in County Conservation parks.


Tuesday, April 28 (5:00PM) Update

The Pinellas County Commission took action today on several matters, including pools and rent assistance to individuals.  Below are summaries of these actions: 

BEACHES:  Public beaches and public beach parking facilities may reopen on Monday, May 4 at 7AM.  Individuals must adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines.  This includes no congregating in groups and groups of 10 or more are prohibited.  All persons not part of the same family unit must remain at least 6 feet apart.  Public beach restrooms may be opened with enhanced cleaning and sanitation that meet CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection.

POOLS: Swimming pools located at lodging establishments (this includes apartment communities), hotels, condos, and commercial business establishments, as well as homeowners’ associations, may reopen on April 30 at 6AM.  Pools may operate only at 50% of stated pool maximum bathing load. Owners and operators shall adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines.  This includes not allowing people to congregate in groups and groups or 10 or more are prohibited.  All persons not part of the same family unit must remain at least 6 feet apart.  Owners and operators must follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection of facilities.  The County Commission noted that private pools need not open if they cannot effectively implement social distancing guidance.  

PLAYGROUNDS: Playgrounds at childcare facilities may reopen on Thursday, April 30 at 6AM.  All other playgrounds remain closed. 

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE: County residents who can demonstrate that they were employed have since lost their jobs/have reduced income because of the COVID19 emergency are eligible for a one time grant of up to $4,000 to cover mortgage, rent, and/or utility costs.  To qualify, an individual or family income must be at or below 200% of the poverty line at time of application and have no more than $4,000 in liquid assets (in a checking or savings account).  People who have lost their jobs and don’t currently have income qualify for assistance.  Other eligibility rules apply – see this overview.  211 Tampa Bay will be used to administer this program and they expect to begin taking applications for this grant tomorrow, Wednesday, April 28. 

BUSINESS ASSISTANCE:  Businesses that occupy commercial space in Pinellas County and that are among the industry sectors most impacted by the COVID19 emergency (i.e., restaurants, bars, hotels, non-essential businesses) are eligible for a one-time grant of up to $5,000.  Eligible businesses must have been operating since October 1, 2019, have no more than 25 full-time equivalent employees, and are projected to reopen/return to normal operations after the emergency.  Other eligibility rules apply – see this overview.  The County plans to administer this program and expect to begin taking applications for this grant on May 4.

The Manatee County Commission voted on 4/28 to reopen public beaches starting Monday, May 4 at 10AM.  Social distancing requirements will continue to be applicable.  Some public parking will be open, however a 2 hour time limit will be imposed.  All beaches will close nightly at 9PM.  


Monday, April 27 (5:00PM) Update

Sarasota County beaches were opened to the public at 8:30AM today, Monday 4/27.  People visiting the beach are limited to essential activities, such as exercising; no laying on the beach, sunbathing, or coolers are allowed.  Social distancing guidelines must continue to be followed.  Public parking facilities, playgrounds, and concessions will remain closed.  


Thursday, April 16 (5;00PM) Update

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group (EPG) voted on 4/16 to repeal the curfew instituted on 4/13.  The EPG also agreed to simply recommend to the public the use of face coverings while in public. 


Monday, April 13 (6:00PM) Update

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group (EPG) voted on 4/13 to institute a curfew on county residents, effecitve on 4/13.  The curfew will be nightly from 9PM to 5AM.  The curfew will not apply to essential workers and to people seeking essential activities.  The EPG also discussed requiring people to wear face coverings in public and will consider moving forward with that requirement at their 4/16 meeting.


Thursday, April 9 (6:00PM) Update

During the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group meeting on 4/9, Chief Judge of the 13th State Judicial District (Hillsborough County) Ronald Ficarrotta, noted that he had previously given administrative orders to the judges in the District halting all evictions (for residential and commercial tenants) through April 19, and that he planned to extend those orders.  He did not disclose for how long he would extend those orders. 

The Centers for Disease Control issued on 4/8 new guidance addressing safety practices for critical infrastructure workers who have had or may have had exposure to a person with suspected of confirmed case of COVID-19.  The CDC has provided an easy to use one-page summary of this guidance. 

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued on 4/8 a new alert about the increased prevalence of malicious cyber-attacks exploiting the COVID-19 emergency.  These attacks are being perpetrated via email, text messages and within teleworking networks, and are often designed to fool victims into providing log-in credentials or to allow malicious software to be installed. 


Wednesday, April 8 (12:00PM) Update

Governor DeSantis provided a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document on 4/3, that provides clarity on some aspects of the State-wide Safer-at-Home order.  This document states that if a business is not listed as an essential service, the physical location of the business must be closed to customers.  These businesses are allowed to transition to online/phone orders and provide delivery/pick-up options. The FAQs also note that senior citizens and people with significant medical conditions are allowed to “leave their homes when necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.”

During the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group meeting on 4/6, Commissioners Miller and Murman noted that they had received numerous complaints from constituents that their landlords had sent notices of rent increases at a time when so many had lost their jobs.  The group agreed to reach out to Governor DeSantis to see what could be done to halt rent increases.  The group also directed the County Government to explore whether these rent increases could be considered price gouging.

The Chief Judge of Florida’s 6th Judicial District (covering Pinellas and Pasco Counties) has issued an order that anyone arrested for violating isolation or quarantine orders, and who is “reasonably believed to be infected” with the coronavirus or who is “reasonably believed to have been exposed” will be held without bond.  Judges will have discretion to modify this status. 


Friday, April 3 (5:00PM) Update

Manatee County Commission voted on 4/3 to pass resolution 20-053 (version available is prior to edits made during the commission meeting), which institutes a curfew and additional restrictions effective immediately.  The curfew will be in place form 11PM-5AM daily and will restrict all movement except for exceptions provide for in the order.  Among those exceptions are persons commuting to and from places of employment.  The order includes a prohibition on all gatherings of 10 or more people that do not constitute essential services or essential activities, and extends the orders prohibitions to all public and private owned land, excluding the interior of residences, and excluding the Town of Longboat Key.

Pinellas County has provided Safer-at-Home Guidance that clarifies the application of Governor DeSantis’ recent Safer-at-Home Executive Order and the already in place Pinellas County Safer-at-Home resolution.  The guidance includes a list of non-essential businesses (i.e., antique stores, bookstores, clothing stores) that shall be closed, and clarifies that the directives do not prohibit ten people from being in one building or place, but there must be six feet between people.

The City of St. Petersburg has allocated $6.8 million to establish a Fighting Chance Fund to provide emergency grants for St. Petersburg small businesses and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.  Grants of up to $5,000 will be available for small businesses and $500 for individuals in certain industries. 


Friday, April 3 (8:30AM) Update

Governor DeSantis on 4/2 signed executive order 20-94, which suspends and tolls evictions and mortgage foreclosures for 45 days for nonpayment of rent due to the COVID-19 emergency, or on May 18.  The order also makes clear that people are not relieved of their obligation to pay rent or their mortgage payment.  Presumably, evictions based on other reasons would still be permissible.  

The CDC has published new information on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.  It covers information on cleaning agents to use, and how to clean various surfaces and amenities, like the laundry area.  It also discusses how to clean an area after someone is sick with COVID-19.


Thursday, April 2 (5:30PM) Update

Governor DeSantis announced on 4/2 that he will sign an executive order instituting a 45-day moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.  Additional details are not available at this time.  


Thursday, April 2 (8:00AM) Update

Governor DeSantis on 4/1 signed executive order 20-91, a stay-at-home order for the State of Florida.  According to the order, everyone is required to "limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities." The order will go into effect at 12:01AM on Friday, 4/3 and will expire on 4/30, unless extended.

The order adopts by reference the Department of Homeland Security's list of essential services, as well as the list of essential services adopted by the stay-at-home order implemented by the Miami-Dade County.  These lists cover businesses that “provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other structures," as well as construction of new apartment homes.  Essential businesses however must continue to implement reasonable measures to ensure sanitation and cleanliness of premises and items that come into contact with employees and the public, and take reasonable steps to adhere to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.  Non-essential businesses are required to close, unless they can modify their business to provide delivery, carry-out, or curbside service for orders that are placed online or via telephone.

The order also directs senior citizens and individuals with a significant underlying medical conditions to stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.  Further, it prohibits groups of people greater than ten from congregating in any public space.

You can find FAA's analysis of the order here.


Wednesday, April 1 (1:30 PM) Update

Governor DeSantis announced on 4/1 that he will sign an executive order instituting a safer-at-home order that will go into effect Thursday night.  According to remarks during the press conference announcing this order, the Governor noted that it would be directed a prohibiting individuals from going to non-essential businesses, and that it would incorporate both the Department of Homeland Security list of essential businesses, as well as additions to the list that were made in Miami-Dade, such as pet supply businesses.  When asked whether non-essential businesses would be closed, he said the order should allow them to remain open if they don’t allow people to congregate in their stores and if they move their model to home delivery. 


Wednesday, April 1 (10:30 AM) Update

Governor DeSantis on 3/30 signed executive order 20-89, a stay-at-home order applicable to Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County and Monroe County.  The order applies the Miami-Dade Emergency Order to all four counties.  Per that order, all non-essential retail and commercial establishments are ordered closed.  Essential businesses include those who “provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other structures.”  Further, the order does not establish a blanket limit the number of persons who may be physically present performing services at any location where an essential business is being conducted.  Essential businesses however much continue to implement reasonable measures to ensure sanitation and cleanliness of premises and items that come into contact with employees and the public, and take reasonable steps to adhere to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.



Governor DeSantis on 3/27 signed executive order 20-86 requiring anyone from the State of Louisiana entering Florida to isolate or quarantine themselves for 14 days, and to notify anyone they have had direct physical contact with over the last 21 days.  The order is retroactive for anyone who has already come to Florida from an area of substantial community spread.  The order also directs the establishment of checkpoints on highways leading into Florida to screen for people who may be coming from areas of substantial community spread.  These people will need to provide information regarding the origin of their travel and the address of their location of 14 days of isolation or quarantine.  Violations of this order are punishable as a second degree misdemeanor.



Governor DeSantis on 3/27 signed executive order 20-87 requiring the suspension of vacation rental operations.  The order applies to vacation rentals that are rented for period of less than 30 days, units that are advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests, or are otherwise regulated by DBPR as a vacation rental under Florida Statute 509.241.  The order does not apply to hotels, motels, non-transient public lodging establishments, long-term rentals, vacation rentals who already had guests, or vacation rentals whose guests are persons performing military, emergency, governmental, health, infrastructure or commercial activities.  Violation of this order will result in loss of the vacation rental license and is punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor.


Monday, March 30, (5:30 PM) Update

On Friday, 3/27, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  This is the third bill passed by Congress to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and it contains several provisions that affect the multifamily industry.  Below is a short list of some of those provisions, however a more detailed overview of this legislation can be found on the NMHC website.   Additionally, NMHC has developed a 30 minutes webinar that provides a detailed review of the legislation.

120-day Eviction Moratorium: prohibits issuing notice to vacate, initiating an eviction filing, or assessing penalty fees for nonpayment of rent on covered properties, including any properties insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected, or assisted in any way by HUD, FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, as well as Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Programs, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties, and properties participating in other similar federal programs.

Forbearance and Eviction Moratorium: Allows 90 days forbearance for multifamily borrowers with a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan, but properties in forbearance may not evict or charge late fees to tenants so long as the property is in forbearance.

Consumer Reporting: Apartment communities that agree to modify rental payments for residents will be required to report to credit reporting agencies that the residents are current; this will apply for 120 days after the date the corona virus national emergency declaration ends. 

Unemployment benefits: Provides increases in weekly benefit, with quicker rollout of benefits; employees with reduced hours can seek pro-rated benefits; eligibility expands to include self-employed individuals and independent contractors.

Business Taxes: Establishes a refundable employee retention tax credit; allows employers and self-employed individuals to delay payment of the employer’s portion of Social Security payroll taxes; allows net operating losses to be carried back for businesses and sole proprietors to 2018, 2019, and 2020. 


Friday, March 27, (6:30 PM) Update

Governor DeSantis announced on 3/27 that he would expand the current travel related executive order to cover the State of Louisiana as an area with substantial community spread of COVID-19, which would require self-isolation/quarantine and tracing.  Florida will also establish check-points on highways coming into the State to check for people coming from areas of substantial community spread, however, this will not apply to commercial traffic.  Additionally, the Governor announced that no new vacation rentals will be allowed for the next two weeks.  This will only apply to new vacation rentals, and any vacation rentals currently with occupants will be allowed to continue through the end of the rental period.   

The Supreme Court of Florida issued on 3/24 new administrative orders covering Florida court proceedings.  Included in those orders, was a provision regarding Writs of Possession, which a landlord needs to have a Sherriff’s Office execute an eviction.  That provision notes that “the requirement in Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.580(a) for the clerk to issue a writ of possession “forthwith” shall be suspended through the close of business on Friday, April 17, 2020, or as provided by subsequent order.”  According to the Tampa Bay Times, interpretation of this order has largely been up to local county clerks.  The Times reached out to county clerks in the region and found that clerks in Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Sarasota counties believe this order means they are not to issue writs of possession until after April 17, while the Hillsborough county clerk disagreed.  Given that this is a developing issue and subject to local interpretation, you should contact your local clerk’s office or local legal counsel to find out how the courts in your county are interpreting this order.


Friday, March 27, (3:30 PM) Update

Below are some COVID-19 resources made available by Federal agencies applicable to the multifamily industry.

Guidance for Workplaces:  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has established a webpage that provides Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  You will find on this webpage, among other things, the CDC’s Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission, which includes directions for workplaces and other specific circumstances.  Additionally, you find the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.

FHA/Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac: The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has created a COVID-19 resource page.  Included on the page is the 3/23 announcement that FHFA will offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance if they agree to suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus.  This offer applies to all multifamily properties that backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac negatively impacted by the coronavirus national emergency.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are providing regular updates on multifamily guidance specific to the COVID-19 emergency.  The latest updates for each were published on 3/25. 

FHA Multifamily Guidance:  The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Office of Multifamily Housing Programs has published a Questions and Answers for Office of Multifamily Housing Stakeholders document that provides COVID-19 guidance that applies to participants in the FHA Multifamily mortgage insurance and Office of Housing rental assistance programs.  This guidance is continuously being updated, with the latest provided on 3/24. 


Friday, March 27, (8:30 AM) Update

Hillsborough County Safer-at-Home Order

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group met on Thursday, 3/26, and unanimously voted to pass the Safer-at-Home order.  This order will go into effect on Friday, 3/27, at 10:00 PM all will apply to all of Hillsborough County, including the Cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City. 

The order directs all residents to stay at home as much as possible, 24/7.  Residents are allowed an unlimited ability to go out to get necessary food, medicine and essentials, as well as to enjoy outdoor recreation activities provided physical distancing and recommend sanitary requirements are observed.  The order does not apply to essential individuals, businesses, and services, which include but is not limited to the following:

  • Contractors, utility workers and other tradesmen, building management and maintenance (including janitorial companies serving commercial businesses), home security firms, fire and water damage restoration, public adjusters, appliance repair personnel, exterminators, pool and lawn care and golf course maintenance, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other structures.
  • Businesses that primarily supply office products needed for people to work from home, but not including businesses that primarily sell or lease furniture.
  • Any business that employs five (5) or fewer persons, including management/ownership, where the employees do not come in regular contact with the general public in the regular course of business.
  • Persons commuting directly to or from an exempted activity.
  • Personnel employed by an entity identified as one of the sixteen critical infrastructure sectors by the Cyber-Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when pursuing work related functions, or traveling directly to or from work and their respective residents.
  • Individuals who provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain and repair Essential Infrastructure. Essential Infrastructure includes, but is not limited to: construction; building management and maintenance; and solid waste and recycling collection and removal. Essential Infrastructure shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to essential infrastructure, broadly defined.

Businesses that are not considered essential but are able to maintain the required physical distancing (6 feet) may continue to operate.  Businesses that cannot maintain the required physical distancing must close (i.e., hair salons, massage). 

Essential businesses and businesses that can still operate shall 1) ensure employees adhere to social distancing and other health guidelines as established by the Florida Department of Health, 2) continue using best practices set forth by the CDC and OSHA to reduce the risk of worker exposure to coronavirus or COVID-19 in workplaces and prevent widespread transmission in communities (i.e., frequent handwashing, 6ft social distancing), 4) direct workers to telework when that is feasible, and 4) use best efforts to provide employment opportunities to those who lose jobs because of this emergency by working directly with CareerSource and other designated employment and job agencies.  (NOTE: Based on the publicly available version of the order available at time of this post, it is not entirely clear whether essential businesses must ensure 6ft social distancing; we will work on getting this clarified asap).  

Violations of this order may be treated as a second-degree misdemeanor. 

The City of Sarasota City Manager issued an order on Thursday 3/26 to prohibit social or recreational gatherings of 10 or more persons and require everyone to comply with the CDC guidelines of social distancing (6 foot separation from other, no gatherings larger than 10 people).   This order does not apply to a single household or residence.  Social/recreation gatherings do not include office space and multifamily residential buildings, among other things. 

Violations of this order will be treated as a second-degree misdemeanor.  The public is also very strongly urged to remain at home except for activities related to the provision of essential commodities and services like food and health care, but also includes engaging in work and traveling to/from work. 


Thursday, March 26, (8:30 AM) Update

Governor DeSantis issued two executive orders dated 3/24; one order is directed to travelers to Florida and the second is focused on populations particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

Travel:  Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-82, all persons traveling into the State of Florida from an area with substantial community spread of COVID-19, including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are required to isolate or quarantine themselves for a period of 14 days.  This order applies retroactively to anyone who has already entered the State over the last 14 days and who was previously in any area with substantial community spread.  Further, people covered by this order are also directed to inform anyone in Florida with whom they have had direct physical contact with in the past 21 days that they traveled from an area with substantial community spread. Violation of this order will be considered a second-degree misdemeanor. 

Per Florida statute, isolation means “the separation of an individual who is reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease from individuals who are not infected, and quarantine means “the separation of an individual reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease, but who is not yet ill, from individuals who have not been so exposed.” 

Vulnerable Populations:  Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-83, Governor DeSantis has ordered the State Surgeon General and State Health Officer to issue a public health advisory that urges people 65 years and older and people with serious underlying medical conditions to stay home and take measures to limit their risk of COVID-19.  Such conditions include, but are not limited to, chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; serious heart conditions; immunocompromised status, including those in cancer treatment; and severe obesity.  The public health advisory will also caution against all social or recreational gatherings of 10 or more people and it will urge people who can work remotely to do so.


Wednesday, March 25, (5:15 PM) Update

Below are summaries of actions taken today by Pinellas County and Hillsborough County related to stay-at-home orders.

Pinellas County “Safer at Home” Resolution

The Pinellas County Board of Commissioners voted today 3/25 to unanimously pass the “Safer at Home” resolution that places limits/requirements on businesses and individuals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The resolution will come into effect at 12:00PM on Thursday 3/26, and will continue through the state of emergency.  The resolution will apply to all Pinellas County, but individual municipalities have the option to enact stricter measures.  On this point, Mayor Kriseman of the City of Saint Petersburg felt the resolution was not strong enough, but announced in the afternoon that he would not pursue additional restrictions at this time. 

In short, the resolution will allow most businesses to continue operating if they practice CDC social distancing guidelines, such as keeping people 6 feet apart and limiting groups to 10 people.  Essential services are exempted from the group limitation, and generally apartment community management and suppliers are included within the definition of essential services.  More detailed aspects of the resolution include:

Businesses

All businesses may continue internal and minimum basic operations but are required to maintain the businesses but are required to enforce CDC social distancing and group gathering guidelines as it applies to their workforce.  Specifically, this means maintaining 6 feet between individuals and having no group larger than 10. 

Businesses with a storefront operation are directed to close the storefront and limit customer foot traffic if they a) do not provide Essential Services as outlined by the resolution, or b) cannot maintain CDC social distancing guidelines

The resolution does not limit the number persons who may be physically present and performing services on-site related to the provision of Essential Services, except as expressly set forth in the resolution or otherwise governed by any County, State, or Federal order or regulations. 

Among other things, essential services include:

  • Contractors and other tradesmen, building and apartment management and maintenance (including janitorial companies servicing commercial businesses), home security firms, fire and water damage restoration appliance repair personnel, exterminators, and other service providers (such as landscape and pool maintenance service providers) who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other structures.
  • Businesses that primarily supply other essential businesses and operations as stated in this resolution, with the support or supplies necessary to operate, and which do not interact with the general public, including cybersecurity firms (but not including businesses that primarily sell or lease furniture).
  • Businesses that primarily supply office products needed for people to operate open businesses or work from home (but not including businesses that primarily sell or lease furniture).
  • Businesses that primarily ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residents
  • Waste management services, including businesses engaged primarily in the collection and disposal of waste
  • Businesses providing professional services, such as legal or accounting services, to the extent those services comply with the social distancing requirements

Businesses will be required to post what they are doing to comply with these requirements.

Individuals

Individuals are 1) directed to comply with CDC guidelines by maintaining distance of 6 feet apart, 2) not gather in groups of more than 10 people, and 3) limit activity to essential tasks like seeking emergency and health care, groceries, take-out food, essential work duties that can’t be done at home, outdoor activity like walking the dog (must be follow CDC guidelines), gas stations, etc.

Individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain and repair Essential Infrastructure.  Essential Infrastructure includes building management and maintenance, construction, and solid waste and recycling collection and removal.  Essential Infrastructure shall be construed broadly.

Gatherings

Places of public assembly are directed to close, including publicly accessible children’s play centers and publicly accessible playground equipment.

All places and entities conducting public and private gatherings are directed to 1) comply with CDC guidelines on social distancing and 2) any public and private gatherings of any number of people not meeting CDC guidelines outside a family unit/household are prohibited, except where exempted/permitted by the other sections of the resolution.

Hillsborough County

The Emergency Policy Group (EPG) met on 3/25 to discussion collective action for Hillsborough County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Their discussion focused around an outline of actions developed by Hillsborough County Administrator Merrill that would implement a stay-at-home order.  The outline included the following proposed actions:

  • A stay-at-home directive effective 24hrs/day, 7 days/week, along with curfews of 10PM-5AM Monday-Friday, and from 10PM Friday through 5AM Monday.
  • Residents would be permitted unlimited ability to get necessary food, medicine, and other essentials, and allowed to enjoy the outdoors so long as social distancing is observed.
  • Businesses are generally required to have their employees telework, but businesses that must have onsite employees to function must maintain 6 feet between employees and customers, and among employees; if that is not possible, then the business must close.
  • Essential businesses would be exempted from the stay-at-home order and curfews, however they must 1) direct workers to telework where feasible, 2) put into place all recommended Public Health Department mitigation procedures and practices to protect workers and customers, and 3) prioritize hiring people who lost their job because of this emergency by working with CareerSource and/or other designated employment agencies.

The EPG voted unanimously to 1) direct Hillsborough County Administrator Merrill and attorneys for the various municipalities in Hillsborough County to finalize a directive that encompasses the outline and overall discussion, and 2) set the effective date of this directive as Friday, 3/27, at 10:00 PM.  The EPG is expects to vote on the directive during at 1:30PM meeting on 3/26.  This directive would apply to all of Hillsborough County, including the City of Tampa, the City of Temple Terrace, and Plant City. 


Wednesday, March 25 (8:30AM) Updates

In a press conference yesterday (3/24) afternoon, Governor DeSantis unveiled additional steps he plans on implementing to address the spread of COVID-19.  This includes 1) requiring all people who have travelled from the New York City area over the last three weeks to self-isolate and report any close contacts they have had, 2) issuing an advisory to everyone 65 years or older and those with serious health issues to stay at home for the next 14 days to avoid contracting COVID-19, 3) expanding guidance against social groups of 10 people more to include private residences, and 4) directing nonessential businesses to have at least 50% of their workforce telecommuting.  At time of writing this summary, the directives and advisories discussed have not been published.

It should be noted that self-isolation directive will be in addition to Executive Order 20-80, which went into effect on Tuesday 3/24.  That order mandates a 14-day isolation or quarantine for all people flying into Florida from an “area with substantial community spread,” including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  Per Florida statute, isolation means “the separation of an individual who is reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease from individuals who are not infected, and quarantine means “the separation of an individual reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease, but who is not yet ill, from individuals who have not been so exposed.” 

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman signaled that both cities may move forward to implement a stay-at-home order as early as today, Wednesday, 3/25.  Pinellas County Commission and the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group are meeting today to also discuss stay-at-home orders.

Starting today, Wednesday 3/25, all Sarasota County playgrounds, tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts and dog parks will be closed for public use.  Outdoor park areas are still open.


Tuesday, March 24 (8:30AM) Updates

The Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office announced on Wednesday, 3/18, that they would suspend execution of all evictions through April 20, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Sherriff’s Office, a landlord can still file evictions with the courts, and the Sherriff’s office will continue to accept eviction orders, but they will not enforce those orders until at least after April 20. The Sherriff’s Office cited its authority to make this decision on the Emergency Management Powers provided in Florida State Statute, Chapter 252.

Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order Number 20-71 on March 20, 2020.  Among other things, the order requires the closure of all gymnasiums and fitness centers.  While the order excludes gyms that are “are an amenity of a residential building,” because many amenity/gym areas cannot be limited to fewer than 10 people per the CDC's guidelines, many FAA members have voluntarily closed their gyms to comply with the general closure of all gyms across the state.  Also note that local counties and municipalities are enacting orders that require the closure of areas that cannot be limit to less than 10 people and/or cannot guarantee people are 6 feet apart from one another. (Note: this incorporates a correction to similar announcement provided in the email "BAAA Coronavirus Advocacy Update - 3/24/20"

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation issued Emergency Order 2020-01 on March 16, 2020.  The order states that the holder of any license, permit, registration, or certificate issued by DBPR with an existing renewal deadline that occurs in the month of March or April will be tolled for 30 days, and no late fee will be assessed during this period.  The order also notes that this tolling period could be extended by subsequent orders. 


Earlier Stories

Mayor Castor Interview
Fox 13 News/March 23

Hillsborough County leaders postpone possible 'stay-at-home' order, despite Mayor Castor's plea
Fox 13 News/March 23

Hillsborough County Sherriff's Office Suspends Evictions through April 20
Sherriff's Facebook Page/March 18, 2020 

Coronavirus in Tampa: All beaches in city closing
WFLA News Channel 8/March 18, 2020

Coronavirus in Florida: Bars, nightclubs shut down for 30 days
WFLA News Channel 8/March 17, 2020

Governor Ron DeSantis Activates Emergency Bridge Loan Program for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
Governor's Office/March 16, 2020

Mayor to Tampa bars and restaurants: Cut occupancy by half, close by 10 p.m.
WTSP News 10/March 16, 2020

City of Lakeland declares state of emergency in response to coronavirus
WFLA News Channel 8/March 16, 2020

St. Pete Issues Emergency Order, Limits Gatherings and Restricts Alcohol Sales
FOX 13 News/March 16, 2020

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor Looks At Ways to Stop Spread of Corona Virus
WTSP News 10/March 15, 2020

Hillsborough County Cancels All Meetings, Events for Next 30 Days
Tampa Bay Times/March 13, 2020