Tampa is spacing out well, Mayor Jane Castor says

Castor said she didn’t see any major problems this weekend with crowds or other violations of the county’s Safer at Home order.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, seen above at a news conference last week, said Monday that she's pleased with Tampa residents' compliance with the county's Safer at Home order so far.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, seen above at a news conference last week, said Monday that she's pleased with Tampa residents' compliance with the county's Safer at Home order so far. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published March 30, 2020

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So far, Tampa is doing a great job spacing out during the coronavirus outbreak, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said Monday.

The mayor, during a Facebook Live appearance, said she was pleased with compliance with the county’s Safer at Home order, which went into effect Friday night.

She drove around over the weekend and didn’t see any large crowds of people, which would be a violation of the county’s order.

“We haven’t had any major problems. The vast majority of individuals are cooperating,” she said. “I personally drove around through downtown and all around the city over the weekend and the streets are abandoned.”

The city is monitoring conditions along popular gathering spots like the Riverwalk and Bayshore Boulevard, she said.

“We’re doing good along Bayshore and the Riverwalk,” Castor said. “I’m very, very pleased with the response from our community. They understand the gravity of the situation.”

Castor’s comments stood in contrast to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, who warned residents of the smaller city across the bay Monday about violating a similar order in Pinellas County.

Related: Kriseman warns of citations for violations of social distancing

On Friday, Castor appealed to residents to exercise in their own neighborhoods instead of flocking to well-known spots. So far, that is happening, she said.

Her administration is still “mulling over” whether to close down streets in other parts of Florida’s third-largest city to allow more space outside for residents who don’t live close to Bayshore or the Riverwalk.

“The decisions haven’t been made yet,” Castor said.

City Council member Guido Maniscalco, who represents West Tampa and parts of Seminole Heights among other areas, said he hasn’t heard many complaints about a lack of space.

West Tampa residents have mostly been staying inside so far while bungalow residents in Seminole Heights have been using their front porches to practice appropriate porch-to-porch socializing.

“I think it’s been successful, the word has gotten out. It’s not like people are scared and we have police patrols. People recognize the severity of this,” Maniscalco said.

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