Orders from the Mayor in Tampa, FL

UPDATE: Such orders are no longer in effect.

Mayor Jane Castor has declared a local State of Emergency due to coronavirus. Services for the City of Tampa remain OPEN but some departments are teleworking.

In response to coronavirus (COVID-19), the Mayor of Tampa is expected to issue more orders to help manage the crisis. For example, starting on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at sunset, the city of Tampa closed its popular beaches including the Ben T. Davis Beach on the Tampa side of the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Cypress Point Beach on W. Cypress Street, Davis Islands Beach and Picnic Island Beach.

The order came the same day Governor Ron DeSantis declined to issue an order closing all of Florida’s beaches. Instead, the Governor of Florida signed an order limiting gatherings on Florida beaches to ten (10) people per group. Of course, many of Florida’s beaches are not busy and maintaining social distancing is not a problem.

What about the limits on hours and on-premises consumption of food and beverages in restaurants, bars, private clubs and other establishments, and limitations on size of gatherings?

The City of Tampa, Office of Mayor, Jane Castor, issued Mayoral Order #1. The order was issued pursuant to City of Tampa Executive order 2020-02.

Enforcing quarantines or requiring the public to “shelter in place” is NOT a form of martial law. In fact, the term “martial law” is not particularly helpful in this context. What should you do during this time? People should simply follow the letter and spirit of the order.

The order reads as follows:

WHEREAS, on March 1, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order Number 20-51 declaring a Public Health Emergency in the State of Florida due to the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19″ ); and

WHEREAS, on March 7, 2020, Governor Ron De Santis issued Executive OrderNumber 20-52, declaring a State of Emergency for the State of Florida, extending to all sixty-seven (67) counties including Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19″ ); and

WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group issued an Executive Order declaring a local state of emergency in response to a countywide threat from COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, pursuant to Section 2-402 of the City of Tampa Code of Ordinances, I declared by Executive Order 2020-01 that a state of local emergency has occurred in the City of Tampa, or the threat thereof is imminent; and

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, President Donald J. Trump issued a Proclamation Declaring a National Emergency concerning COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a severe acute respiratory illness that can spread among humans through respiratory transmission and presents with symptoms similar to those of influenza; and

WHEREAS, in late 2019, a new and significant outbreak of COVID-19 emerged inChina and the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency ofInternational Concern, and

WHEREAS, in response to the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in China, Iran, Italy andSouth Korea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has deemed it necessary to prohibit or restrict non-essential travel to or from those countries and in response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Japan, the CDC has advised older travelers and those with chronic medical conditions to avoid nonessential travel and all travelers to exercise enhanced precautions; and

WHEREAS, the CDC currently recommends community preparedness and everyday prevention measures be taken by all individuals and families in the United States, including voluntary home isolation when individuals are sick with respiratory symptoms, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and disposal of the tissue immediately thereafter, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with 60%-95%alcohol if soap and water are not readily available, and routinely cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects to increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak; and

WHEREAS, several individuals in the State of Florida tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, including residents of Manatee County, Hillsborough County, and the City ofTampa; and WHEREAS, the CDC currently recommends mitigation measures in communities withCOVID-19 cases, including staying at home when sick, keeping away from others who are sick, and staying at home when a household member is sick with respiratory disease symptoms or if instructed to do so by public health officials or a health care provider, avoiding large gatherings and other such social distancing measures; and

WHEREAS, it is necessary and appropriate to take action to ensure that COVID-19remains controlled and that residents and visitors in Florida remain safe and secure; and WHEREAS, in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens and visitors of the City of Tampa, the Mayor of the City of Tampa hereby declares that COVID-19 and/or the imminent threat of the spread of COVID-19 may cause substantial injury and harm to the population and constitutes an emergency as defined in Section 252.34

WHEREAS, due to evolving circumstances and information, it is necessary to institute additional measures beyond those specified in Executive Order 2020-01, in an effort to address the needs of the City of Tampa.

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City ofTampa by Sections 2-402 and 2-403 of the City of Tampa Code of Ordinances, the Charter of the City of Tampa, and the Laws of the State of Florida, and in coordination with the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group, I hereby readopt and revise Executive Order2020-1; and declare that a state of emergency exists as of the date set forth below in connection with COVID-19, and hereby prescribe and promulgate the following:

  1. That all citizens and visitors within the City of Tampa are directed to follow the precautions, guidelines and orders issued by the CDC, the State Health Officer, and theDirector of Florida Department of Health – Hillsborough County in establishing protocols to control the spread of COVID-19 for the preservation of life or other emergency mitigation, response, or recovery.
  2. That for the duration of this Order the procedures and formalities otherwise required of the City by law or ordinance are waived for all matters: performance of public work and taking whatever prudent action is necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community; entering into contracts; incurring obligations; employment of permanent and temporary workers; utilization of volunteer workers; rental of equipment; acquisition and distribution, with or without compensation, of supplies, materials, and facilities; and appropriation and expenditure of public funds.
  3. That all State and/or local business licensees, vendors, merchants, and any other person operating a retail business in the City of Tampa, is hereby prohibited from charging more than the normal average retail price, as defined in Section 2-404(7) of the City of Tampa Code of Ordinances, for any goods, materials or services sold during the duration or extension of the emergency.
  4. That certain other restrictions contained in Section 2-404 of the City of Tampa Code of Ordinances, which are listed on Exhibit “A” attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference, may be imposed for the duration of the emergency.
  5. That, to the extent necessary, physicians, nurses, ambulance operators performing medical services, on-duty employees in hospitals and other medical facilities, on-duty military personnel, personnel of public utilities maintaining essential public services, city authorized or requested firemen, law enforcement officers and personnel and such other classes of persons as may be essential to the preservation of public order or necessary to serve the safety, health and welfare of the citizens of the City of Tampa during this emergency are exempted from the restrictions contained in Section 2-404 of the City of Tampa Code.
  6. That this Executive Order shall take effect immediately on the date set forth below and shall terminate seven (7) days after the date hereof unless suspended by subsequent executive order or extended as necessary in seven (7) day increments by additional executive orders issued by the Mayor.

DONE and ORDERED this 16 day of March, 2020.

Jane Castor, Mayor


Gina K. Grimes, City Attorney


During the existence of the subject state of local emergency, the following restrictions set forth in Section 2-404(a), City of Tampa Code, may be imposed by written directive of the Mayor, or her designee, as necessary to address the threat posed by the spread of COVID-19:

  1. Prohibit or regulate the purchase, sale, transfer or possession of explosives, combustibles, dangerous weapons of any kind (except firearms which may be restricted by F.S. § 870.044)[and except as may be contrary to the provisions of Chapter 790, F.S.], or alcoholic beverages;
  2. Prohibit or regulate any special event, demonstration, parade, march, vigil or participation therein from taking place on any of the public rights-of-way or upon any public property;
  3. Prohibit or regulate the sale or use of gasoline, kerosene, naphtha or any other explosive or flammable fluids or substances altogether, except by delivery into a tank properly affixed to an operable motor vehicle, bike, scooter, boat, or airplane and necessary for the propulsion thereof;
  4. Prohibit or regulate the participation in or carrying on of any business activity, and prohibit or regulate the keeping open of places of business, places of entertainment and any other place of public assembly;
  5. Prohibit or regulate travel upon any public street, highway or upon any other public property. Persons in search of medical assistance, food or other commodity or service necessary to sustain the well being of themselves or their families or some member thereof may be excepted from such prohibition or regulation;
  6. A curfew upon all or any portion of the city thereby prohibiting persons from being on public streets, highways, parks or other public places during the hours which the curfew is in effect;
  7. Prohibit state and/or local business licensees, vendors, merchants and any person operating a retail business from charging more than the normal average price for any goods, materials or services sold during a declared state of local emergency, except that the normal average price for any merchandise may be increased, but only to the degree that the maximum increase in retail price shall be a percentage less than or equal to the amount representative of the average mark-up percent between wholesale and average retail price for any merchandise during the thirty-day period immediately preceding the declared state of local emergency. The normal average price as used herein is defined to be that price at which similar merchandise, or services, has been sold during the thirty (30) days immediately preceding the declaration of a state of local emergency;
  8. Prohibit any person, firm, or corporation from using the fresh water supplied by the city for any purpose other than cooking, drinking or bathing.

Read more about why “martial law” is not coming to Florida anytime soon.

This article was last updated on Thursday, March 19, 2020.