City of Tampa officials said Tuesday morning that they planned to enact a curfew as Hurricane Ian barreled toward Florida, but later in the day said a curfew may not be necessary.
Pinellas County also urged residents to shelter in place by the end of Tuesday.
Mayor Jane Castor’s spokesperson, Adam Smith, told the Tampa Bay Times that a curfew would not be enacted Tuesday night.
Whether one will happen on Wednesday depends on the weather, Smith said.
Earlier in the day, when asked about possible crime in evacuated zones, Castor told reporters, “we will be putting a curfew in place.” She added that City Attorney Andrea Zelman had been working on the issue.
“We are currently writing up a curfew ordinance,” Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor added. “I don’t know when exactly that would take effect.” She said it might occur Tuesday night.
O’Connor said the city was coordinating with Hillsborough County.
But during a news conference later in the day, Castor said, “Right now, with the trajectory, if we don’t have the damage that was predicted before … then there won’t be a need to put a curfew in place.”
She added that a curfew was still possible.
A 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center continued to push Ian’s track south, potentially reaching the shore as a Category 4 hurricane near Venice.
The city has urged residents to take the storm seriously, noting that first responders will not be sent to calls for help when wind speeds are sustained at 40 mph or higher.
“Get away from the water,” Castor said, noting that if the storm slows down when it reaches Tampa Bay, the rainfall could be devastating.
Tampa police have visited homes in evacuated areas, encouraging people to leave, O’Connor said. Police have also spoken with homeless individuals and the city is using HART and Uber to get them to shelters.
The city said it has reached capacity for sandbag distribution, and it will not provide any to people who weren’t in line as of 12:16 p.m. Tuesday, according to a tweet. The city has distributed almost 100,000 sandbags to residents, Castor said.
In 2017, Tampa and St. Petersburg enacted curfews for Hurricane Irma.
Times staff writers Jack Evans and Tracey McManus contributed to this report.
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2022 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
HOW TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT THE HURRICANE: A school mental health expert says to let them know what’s happening, keep a routine and stay calm.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A SHELTER: What to bring — and not bring — plus information on pets, keeping it civil and more.
SAFEGUARD YOUR HOME: Storms and property damage go hand in hand. Here’s how to prepare.
IT'S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.
RISING THREAT: Tampa Bay will flood. Here's how to get ready.
DOUBLE-CHECK: Checklists for building all kinds of hurricane kits
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