1. News
  2. /
  3. Health

Hillsborough officials will consider countywide curfew Wednesday to fight coronavirus

Tampa’s mayor and Hillsborough’s county administrator are at odds over ordering residents to stay home. So the county’s emergency leadership group moved up its next meeting to discuss a new option: A curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor listens during a status report meeting by the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group at the Hillsborough County Public Safety Operations Complex on Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Tampa.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor listens during a status report meeting by the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group at the Hillsborough County Public Safety Operations Complex on Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Mar. 24, 2020|Updated Mar. 25, 2020

Stories about the coronavirus pandemic are free to read as a public service at Sign up for our DayStarter newsletter to receive updates weekday mornings. If this coverage is important to you, consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Tampa Bay Times at

• • •

UPDATE: Tampa Bay leaders are divided on whether to order residents to stay at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Here’s where the leaders in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties stand.

TAMPA — Tampa’s mayor and Hillsborough County’s administrator are at over whether to issue a stay-at-home order to the public. The mayor says she can order her city’s residents to do so, but the administrator said he can countermand that order.

Enter the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group, which has jumped back into the fray and announced an emergency meeting on Wednesday to consider instituting a countywide curfew in an effort to slow the coronavirus’ spread.

Under that plan, the curfew would be in effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Related: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Hillsborough County at odds over stay-at-home order

The group of elected officials, including three county commissioners, three city mayors, the sheriff, the county administrator and the school board chairwoman, plans to convene Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. during a conference call. It will be broadcast live, with captions, on:

• Hillsborough County’s Facebook page:

• The county’s official YouTube channel:

• The county’s HTV cable television channel: Spectrum 637 and Frontier 22

The group rejected the idea of ordering a countywide curfew as recently as Monday, when Tampa Mayor Jane Castor unsuccessfully pushed for a stay-at-home order for all of Hillsborough County. The plan was for county staff to collect more information on how other communities are combating the spread of COVID-19 before the group convened again on Thursday.

But the decision was moved up a day after a tumultuous Tuesday of conflicting orders between the city and the county.

Castor, Tampa’s former police chief, has said it would be easier for police and sheriff’s deputies to enforce a stay-at-home order than to enforce a countywide curfew. Both would come with their share of exemptions to the rule, but under a stay-at-home order, the only people allowed outside their homes at night would be “essential personnel.”

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill, who says he can block Castor from ordering a shelter in place order for her city, brought up the idea of a countywide curfew during the group’s March 19 meeting.

Check on Wednesday for updates on what Hillsborough County leaders will do next.'

• • •

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter

We’ll deliver the latest news and information you need to know every weekday morning.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

EVENT CANCELLATIONS: Get the latest updates on events planned in the Tampa Bay area in the coming weeks.

STORES REACT TO VIRUS: Some businesses adjust hours or announce temporary closings.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY: Foods that should always be in your kitchen, for emergencies and everyday life.

JOIN THE FACEBOOK GROUP: See updates and tips posts, and ask questions of our journalists.

FOLLOW OUR COVERAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Reddit.

LISTEN TO THE CORONAVIRUS PODCAST: New episodes every week, including interviews with experts and reporters

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips.

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.


This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge