Tampa mayor braces residents for possible ‘stay-at-home’ order

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is urging residents to brace for a possible 'stay-at-home' order to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. Currently, there is no such order in place state-wide or county-wide, but the city is anticipating an order to come down from the governor early next week.

"We anticipate that there will be a 'Stay-At-Home' order that will come down from the state," Castor said.

With no 'stay-at-home' in place, Mayor Castor is still urging residents to practice social distancing, not be in small groups, and to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. 

So far, Hillsborough County has not seen a major spike in COVID-19 cases, but the mayor believes that's partly because large-scale testing hasn't yet been made available.

"You can go out and exercise. You can go out and do the things that you do as long as your staying away from each other," Castor said.

MAP: COVID-19 cases in Florida by county

The mayor’s comments triggered a response from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Les Miller.

"There seems to be some confusion about what we’re doing in Hillsborough County. There has not been a call for an emergency stay-home. There has not been an emergency declaration," Miller said.

In a video message released Saturday, Commissioner Miller explained the process for implementing a 'stay-at-home' order.

"That can only be called by the county administrator that is given the authority by the Emergency Policy Group that consist of three county commissioners," Miller said.

The Emergency Policy Group also includes the three mayors from Temple Terrace, Plant City and Tampa as well as the school board chair and the sheriff.

Meanwhile,  testing is still top of mind.

"We don't have the capacity to test right now. We don't have the supplies to do the necessary collections so we have individuals who are walking around who have this virus and they have the ability to spread it to others," Castor said.

The city is hoping to offer large-scale testing in the parking lot of Raymond James Stadium or possibly at the Florida State Fairgrounds by as early as Sunday or Monday.

The mayor's next meeting with the Emergency Policy Group is set for Monday at 1:30 p.m.

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 covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know

AROUND THE WORLD: CoronavirusNOW.com

Map of known COVID-19 cases:

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