Immediate Release

May 1, 2020

Media Contact: EOC PIO (727) 464,3820, [email protected]

Pinellas County aligns with Phase 1 of governor’s plan for recovery

Commission extends Local State of Emergency and clarifies new local restrictions.

  • COVID-19 Local State of Emergency extended for 7 days; County’s Resolution 20-20 Safer at Home order is terminated, relying on the governor’s order.
  • Governor’s order authorizes many nonessential businesses that have been closed to reopen Monday, May 4, with conditions and restrictions.
  • Governor’s order strongly encourages senior citizens and individuals with underlying serious medical conditions to stay home and limit exposure risks.

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners on Friday extended its COVID-19 Local State of Emergency for seven days and issued new guidance that aligns with Governor Ron DeSantis’ Phase 1 Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s recovery (Executive Order 20-112), effective Monday. 

Reopening FAQs

The County’s orders include the following: pools, beaches, and a reminder for individuals to comply with all the County’s and governor’s orders.

Starting Monday, May 4, 2020: 

  • Citizens will no longer be prohibited from leaving home only for essential activities and services, but they should continue to practice social distancing. Senior citizens and individuals with underlying serious health conditions are strongly urged to stay home as much as possible.
  • Essential services and activities previously allowed under the state’s expiring Safer at Home order may continue as they have been operating, including their adherence to safety guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA.
  • Consistent with the governor’s order, many activities and businesses that pose a higher risk of transmission remain prohibited or closed during Phase 1. They include visitation at long-term care facilities; concert and music halls; bars, pubs, nightclubs; gyms and dance and yoga studios; personal services such as haircuts and nail salons; locations with amusement parks and waterparks; and vacation rentals. 
  • Restaurants and food establishments may reopen dining areas with a maximum patron occupancy of 25 percent of the stated building capacity (as allowed by local ordinances). Outdoor seating is allowed without capacity percentage limitations, but bar counter seating must remain closed.
  • Many other nonessential retail businesses that have been closed to foot traffic may resume at limited capacity using social distancing principles. In-store activities can resume to a maximum of 25 percent patron occupancy of the stated building capacity. Pet grooming and car washes are among the businesses that may operate starting Monday, May 4. The County’s guidance strongly encourages residents to wear masks at indoor businesses like grocery and retail stores.
  • Museums and libraries may reopen to a patron occupancy of 25 percent of the stated building capacity, but interactive functions and exhibits and child play areas must stay closed. Cities may decide to keep museums and libraries closed.
  • Curbside pickup and delivery by businesses is allowed.

The Revised County’s guidance aligns with the governor’s order directing everyone to not to congregate in groups of more than 10 people, and that people not part of the same group remain at least six feet apart. Large gatherings for sporting, leisure or similar activities at venues, arenas and stadiums are prohibited.

Beaches reopen Monday at 7 a.m.

The Board earlier this week approved the conditional reopening of shared pools and childcare facility playgrounds, which took effect Thursday, and public beaches and beach parking areas, which will take effect Monday. Beaches will be open for all activities that allow CDC social distancing guidelines prohibiting groups of more than 10 and requiring a 6-foot separation between groups. Local law enforcement will be protecting public health by ensuring compliance with the guidelines.  

Ramping up testing 

Before adopting Resolutions 20-38 and 20-39 on Friday, the Board heard from Department of Health Director Dr. Ulyee Choe on plans to make COVID-19 testing more accessible to citizens who don’t meet strict symptoms criteria and walkup traffic. Quest and LabCorp have begun offering testing for the COVID-19 antibodies. More details regarding additional testing efforts in Pinellas County are forthcoming.

Close data monitoring

The County will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 trending data throughout the step-by-step recovery. Trends indicated a flattening or downward trajectory in positive test results and demand on the hospital system. The governor’s Phase 1 order and County’s corresponding guidance do not have stated expiration dates, and no date has been given for possible advancement to Phase II.

To read County and state orders, and access a wide array of COVID-19 information, visit Pinellas County COVID-19 Response & Recommendations.

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