Nightly curfew now in effect in Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County's Emergency Policy Group voted Monday to implement an overnight curfew to help slow the spread of COVID-19, in addition to the existing 'safer-at-home' orders.

The curfew will be in place every day from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., beginning Monday night.

Hillsborough County and the state of Florida both already have safer-at-home orders in place that direct residents to remain at home around the clock, except for essential trips. Limited recreation is allowed as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.

RELATED: Coronavirus stay-at-home order: What is an essential business or activity in Florida?

But some group members felt that stronger measures were needed. Monday's motion was put forth by Commissioner Les Miller, who pointed out that Hillsborough County deputies have received over 200 complaints about residents not following the safer-at-home order since it went into effect back on March 27.

"They're not paying attention, they're not listening. I don't know how much more education we can do," Miller said. "Our numbers are going to get worse. Our deaths are going to get worse. Our hospitals are going to get filled. We can't afford to do that."

EPG member Rick Lott, mayor of Plant City, was among those who opposed the move, fearing that it would have little effect on compliance. Temple Terrace Vice Mayor Andy Ross and County Commissioner Kimberly Overman also voted against it.

After some discussion, the vote was five to three in favor of the curfew.

RELATED: Florida coronavirus cases top 20,000; deaths reach 470

The group also discussed making face-coverings mandatory for everyone outside of the home while on an essential trip, but at the request of school board member Melissa Snively, put off the vote until Thursday for more research.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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