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Tampa City Council cancels Thursday meeting due to virus exposure

Chairman Guido Maniscalco made the call late Wednesday, following the advice of city Emergency Management officials.
Tampa City Council member and chair, Guido Maniscalco, at a council meeting at the Tampa Convention Center this month. Maniscalco canceled Thursday's City Council workshop and evening meeting after city employees had been exposed to coronavirus.
Tampa City Council member and chair, Guido Maniscalco, at a council meeting at the Tampa Convention Center this month. Maniscalco canceled Thursday's City Council workshop and evening meeting after city employees had been exposed to coronavirus. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
Published Jun. 17, 2020
Updated Jun. 17, 2020

TAMPA — The shutdowns of restaurants and bars across Tampa Bay in the last few days due to coronavirus outbreaks has added the Tampa City Council, which won’t meet Thursday for a workshop or evening meeting after city workers were exposed to the virus.

Chairman Guido Maniscalco made the call to cancel the meetings late Wednesday at the recommendation of Fire Chief Nick LoCicero and other emergency management officials.

Maniscalco said he had been informed that city workers had been exposed to the virus but didn’t have any details due to patient privacy laws. It was unclear if the city workers who have been exposed were Convention Center employees, where council members have been meeting in person to conduct city business since June 4. He didn’t know if the employees had been infected or just exposed. He also didn’t know how many had been affected.

“It’s just out of an abundance of caution. Cases have been rising all over the place,” Maniscalco said, explaining his decision. “I don’t want to expose anybody.”

The agenda for Thursday’s 9 a.m. workshop was light. City department heads were expected to provide council members, four of whom have just completed their first year, with overviews on how their departments function.

The evening meeting typically involves zoning and alcoholic beverage hearings and has to be conducted in person, Maniscalco said.

Both meetings will be rescheduled, he said.

The Tampa City Council was the first local government to start meeting in person at the beginning of the month. Council members each had their own desk placed six feed apart. Staff and members of the public also were seated at least six feet apart in the spacious conference rooms in the city-owned facility.

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