Hillsborough County rescinds Monday’s curfew

Despite+the+revoked+curfew%2C+roads+in+Tampa+have+much+less+traffic+than+usual.+

Jaden Shemesh

Despite the revoked curfew, roads in Tampa have much less traffic than usual.

UPDATE: This story has now been changed to reflect the revocation of the curfew. 

The Hillsborough Emergency Policy Group (EPG) unanimously voted 8-0 to repeal the curfew order passed on Monday. The group argued that the curfew had been passed too hastily, however the guidelines under the statewide safer-at-home order are still in place. The EPG also ignored the recommendation proposed of the requirements to wear masks, and Mayor Castor says she is frustrated  since the exposure leaves essential workers at greater risk of exposure.

On Monday, April 13, a new night curfew between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. was placed in Hillsborough County. The curfew was passed after the Tampa Police Department was called to break up an increasing number of large social gatherings, especially over Easter weekend. However, following public outcry, the EPG voted to rescind it. This means that there is still a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m on weekdays and the entirety of weekends, barring all essential activities, as per the statewide order.

Read our story on Florida’s safer-at-home order here.

Monday’s curfew prevented people from exercising outside or walking dogs after 10 p.m., however this is permissible under the state’s order. This decision may have been controversial.

“The curfew is necessary. People don’t understand how important it is to stay at home, this virus is containable. We need discipline,” freshman Brandon Bile said. And he wasn’t alone in that opinion. In a recent poll of Hillsborough High School students, 76 percent of students said they felt the new curfew is a necessary measure.

However, the naysayers of Monday’s curfew will be pleased with the EPG’s vote. “I don’t believe the curfew will make much of a difference or be effective in regards to helping solve the issue of the coronavirus. It almost seems like another rule is being placed to make it seem like the government has order and knows what’s going on when they actually don’t,” freshman Crystal Cooper said.

Another precaution proposed by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is the requirement of wearing masks when performing essential activities in public. The proposal has not been approved yet, and officials will take a formal vote on Thursday, but some students are already hoping that the measure passes. “I feel like it’s necessary now because the virus is getting worse every day,” senior Estevan Fonseca said in regard to wearing a mask. He is an essential worker at Publix and would feel safer that way, when having contact with customers.

For live updates, monitor @HHSTodayOnline on Twitter.