The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners issued a “Safer at Home” order Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The county released a press release at 2:05 p.m. detailing the order.
“The spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to pose a significant health risk to our community,” the release states. “As a result, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday extended its local state of emergency declaration another week and adopted a "Safer At Home" Order for individuals, business owners and any place of public assembly to slow the spread of the virus. The order is effective starting Thursday, March 26, at 12 p.m. and will continue so long as there is a declared local state of emergency in Pinellas.”
"It's important for us to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections in Pinellas County while balancing the needs of our community and we are exercising every reasonable power to slow the spread,” Commission Chair Pat Gerard was quoted as saying. “These actions, with the cooperation of our Pinellas residents and businesses, will help us prevent worse scenarios in the future.”
The Safer at Home order established guidelines for residents, places of assembly and businesses.
Residents are to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines of social distancing. This includes being separated by others by at least six feet and not gathering with more than 10 people, staying at home as much as possible and limiting non-essential activity. Residents can leave their homes to meet essential needs such as food, healthcare, laundry and outdoor recreation.
Essential activities include:
- Direct care or support of family members
- Healthcare and medical services
- Pharmacies, health care supply stores and health care facilities
- Meal take-outs from local food establishments (including food banks)
- Essential work duties that cannot be performed from home
- Primary or emergency care or direct care support for a family member or relative
- Banks and related financial institutions
- Laundry services, laundromats
- Essential home repairs and maintenance (lawn care, plumbing, roofing, etc.)
- Outdoor activity while following CDC guidelines (examples include: walking pet, hiking, biking)
- Veterinarians and pet boarding facilities
- Gas stations, auto-supply and auto-repair facilities
Places that facilitate public assembly, whether indoors or outdoors are ordered to close to the public. This includes public playgrounds, publicly accessible children's play centers, bowling alleys, movies and other theaters, country clubs, social clubs and fraternal organizations. Any gatherings involving groups of 10 or more will be told to disperse. County public parks will stay open, however all playgrounds within the park will be closed. For more information about parks visit http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/default.htm.
Non-essential businesses are ordered to close storefront operations and customer foot traffic if they can't meet CDC guidelines. However, businesses may continue internal and minimum basic operations required to maintain the businesses. Businesses are still required to enforce the CDC social distancing guidelines.
Essential businesses may continue operations following the appropriate guidelines to the maximum extent possible.
Essential businesses include the following:
- First responders, police and fire, jails and prisons
- Hospitals, clinics and other healthcare operations
- Community based organizations providing meals and social services
- Human Service operations
- Garbage and sanitation workers
- Transportation including airports and public transportation, such as PSTA
- Utilities, public works and essential infrastructure
- Critical trades (plumbers, electricians, exterminators, security personnel, etc.)
- Government essential service workers
- Gas Stations
- Food (grocery stores, food banks, restaurants: delivery, take-out or curbside delivery)
- Banks and financial institutions
- Funeral Services
- Hotel and lodging
- Hardware and supply stores
- Post offices and shipping services
Businesses that do not comply with the order will be subject to the appropriate enforcement action up to and including orders to close and criminal charges.
Additional information about the Stay at Home order will be posted regularly on Pinellas County's COVID-19 resource page: www.pinellascounty.org/covid19.