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Tampa will keep scooters available through coronavirus pandemic

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said the shared scooters are being cleaned three times a day.
A scooter sits outside of the Publix store on West Platt Street, Tampa, Thursday, April 9, 2020. Some members of the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group shared concerns over the ability for scooters to transfer the coronavirus, but the group decided Thursday to defer to the City of Tampa to allow the scooters to keep operating.
A scooter sits outside of the Publix store on West Platt Street, Tampa, Thursday, April 9, 2020. Some members of the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group shared concerns over the ability for scooters to transfer the coronavirus, but the group decided Thursday to defer to the City of Tampa to allow the scooters to keep operating. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
Published Apr. 9, 2020

TAMPA — Scooters will remain on the streets of Tampa for those who need a way to get to the grocery store, pharmacy or work.

Members of Hillsborough County’s Emergency Policy Group had expressed concern earlier in the week that the latest transportation option to hit the city were a contamination risk for spreading the novel coronavirus.

School board chairwoman Melissa Snively told fellow Hillsborough leaders that e-scooters and bike shares appear to be a conduit for infections and other cities had banned them.

Related: Scooters still available for rides in Tampa

But County Attorney Christine Beck told the group Thursday that the scooters only operate within the City of Tampa, and leaders there deemed the shared scooters as an essential transportation mode.

“Their average trips are 1.3 miles, so they are used for transportation,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said. “And they clean them three times a day.”

Castor did say the amount of scooters on the streets has been greatly reduced, with two providers pulling their vehicles and the other two scaling back their fleets.

“I’m glad to hear they’re being cleaned on a regular basis,” Snively said. “I think there’s a point where you have to leave some of that to personal responsibility. ... Hopefully people are taking the responsibility to protect themselves.”

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