Coronavirus Overview and Symptoms
- Yes. COVID-19 has been spreading rapidly around the world, including here in Florida. Cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Hillsborough County and it is likely that community spread is happening in Tampa. We are still learning about coronavirus every day, but we know that it spread quickly through person-to-person contact, which is why the City of Tampa is strongly encouraging everyone to practice social distancing and follow the guidelines of the CDC.
For the latest updates on the spread of coronavirus in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Health's COVID-19 page.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) is primarily spread through human to human contact. However, the virus may also be spread by touching objects that are contaminated with the virus.
According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. If you suspect a surface may be infected, clean it with disinfectant and protect yourself and those around you. Clean your hands afterward and avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. For more information on how to properly clean surfaces in your home, visit the CDC website.
For the latest global situation report, visit the World Health Organization's site..
- The CDC has released the following recommendations to help prevent the spread of coronavirus:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Stay away from individuals who are sick, and if you do become sick, stay home and seek medical care.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue away immediately.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Wear a face covering.
The City of Tampa is also advocating for everyone in our community to practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible.
Avoid contact with others, and if you are experiencing symptoms call your doctor before visiting a hospital, emergency room, or medical office.
If you need to call 9-1-1, inform the dispatcher about your symptoms, and cover your mouth and nose with a mask if possible when interacting with first responders.
For more information on how you can protect yourself from coronavirus, visit the CDC's website.
According to the CDC, the effects of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe symptoms of respiratory illness, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19.
Or at least two of these symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
You can learn more about coronavirus symptoms on the CDC’s website.
If you are sick, you should:
- Stay home and avoid going out in public
- Get tested
- Distance yourself from others in the home
- Wash your hands frequently
- Wear a face mask when interacting with others around you, including first responders
- Call your doctor and seek medical care if your symptoms worsen
- If you experience a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1 and inform the dispatcher about your symptoms. Cover your mouth and nose with a face mask if possible before first responders arrive.
Hillsborough County offers limited drive-thru testing at two sites within City of Tampa limits.
Testing will be administered to individuals who have pre-registered and have scheduled an appointment through Hillsborough County's call center at 888-513-6321. The call center is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Insurance is not required. Individuals do not need to be experiencing symptoms to be tested.
The testing locations within City of Tampa are:
Raymond James Stadium
4201 North Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa, FL 33607
*You must arrive in a personal vehicle.
Lee Davis Community Resource Center
3402 North 22nd Street
Tampa, FL 33605
*Offers drive-through testing, but a vehicle is not required.
University of South Florida
3515 E Fletcher Ave
Tampa, FL 33613
*Offers drive-through testing, but a vehicle is not required.
For more information on how to get tested at one of these facilities, please visit the Hillsborough County website.
- COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:
- People 65 years and older
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People who have serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised
- Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
- People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
- People with diabetes
- People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- People with liver disease
More information for people who need to take extra precautions can be found on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
Those who live in a multi-generational household need to be cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic. A multi-generational household is when more than two generations (grandparents, children, and grandchildren) are living under the same roof. COVID-19 can quickly spread to everyone in the household if one person gets the virus. The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County encourages those who live in multi-generational households to:
- Stay at home and away from crowds.
- Make sure you have access to several weeks of medications and supplies so you don’t have to go out of the home.
- When you go out in public, keep at least 6 feet away from others. Do not go to places where people are sick.
- Wash your hands frequently.
If someone in your home is sick with COVID-19:
- Call DOH-Hillsborough at 813-307-8000 and ask to speak to someone in Epidemiology.
- Have everyone continue to practice good handwashing methods as described above.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces, doorknobs and other commonly touched surfaces with common household disinfectants daily.
- Remind everyone to avoid touching their face, and cover coughs and sneezes with the inside of their elbow or with a tissue, and then throw the tissue away.
- As best as possible, isolate the individual with COVID-19 in a separate bedroom and bathroom away from others.
- Take care of the emotional health of your family, including yourself.
- Avoid sharing personal items like phones, dishes, bedding, or toys.
If caring for a sick household member monitor for emergency signs, like:
- Trouble breathing
- Continual pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Bluish lips or face
Prevent the spread of germs:
- Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, towels, and bedding.
- Have the sick person wear a facemask (if available). If sick individuals are unable to wear a facemask, the individual caring for the sick should wear a facemask when in contact with them.
- Have them use a separate bathroom (if possible).
- Avoid having any unnecessary visitors.
- Make sure individuals with COVID-19 drinks a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and rests at home.
- Use over-the-counter medicines to help with symptoms. For most people, symptoms last a few days and get better after a week.
Effective June 19, 2020 at 5pm, every person working, living, visiting, or doing business in the City of Tampa is required to wear a face covering in any indoor location, other than their home or residence, when not maintaining social distancing from other person(s), excluding family members or companions. See Executive Order 20-27.
Homemade coverings, bandanas, scarves and neck gaiters are all OK. The CDC has provided simple steps for making a cloth face covering with everyday items from your home that can be found here. A video showing how to make a cloth face covering can be found here.
Cloth face coverings should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Be made of more than one layer of fabric that you can still breathe through
- Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use. It is important to always remove face coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering. Follow the CDC’s guidance on how to properly wash cloth face coverings.
Note: Medical grade masks should be saved for healthcare workers.
There are exceptions to the requirement. The following are excluded from Executive Order 2020-27:
- Persons under the age of five years.
- Persons observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines
- Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition
- Persons working in a business or profession who do not have interactions with other persons
- Persons working in a business or profession where use of a face covering would prevent them from performing the duties of the business or profession
- Persons exercising, while also maintaining social distancing
- Persons eating or drinking
- Public safety, fire and other life safety and health care personnel, as their personal protective equipment requirements will be governed by their respective agencies
- The requirement shall not apply when a person who is hearing-impaired needs to see the mouth of someone wearing a face covering in order to communicate.
- Text TAMPAREADY or TAMPALISTA to 888-777 to have real-time alerts related to COVID-19 and other emergency situations sent directly to your phone.
Please note: If you receive a “message failed” response when texting to 888-777, contact your mobile carrier to resolve the issue.
Tampa’s COVID-19 Recovery Hotline is available Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm. Call 1 (833) TPA-INFO (872-4636)
Sign up for Alert Tampa to receive time-critical notifications will be sent directly to your home phone, cell phone or email address.
For more updates, follow the City of Tampa’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
And Mayor Jane Castor’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
City of Tampa Actions
- Most City of Tampa services are fully operational, and will continue to be operational to serve our community. However, some departments are operating via teleworking and are not currently accepting walk-in visits. Check our Department Statuses Page for updates.
The City of Tampa is not closing, and we are committed to maintaining the same reliable and critical services that our residents deserve and expert. Our first responders are reporting for duty, our garbage collection crews are operating on schedule, the water department is producing clean and safe drinking water for all customers, and the City of Tampa will continue working around the clock to meet the needs of our community.
All Development Services functions are available by phone or e-mail during business hours. All other functions are available 24x7 online and via the Accela system. See more details and FAQs from the Planning and Development Department.
- A state of emergency provides local governments with the powers necessary to coordinate and implement plans to protect residents during an emergency situation. On March 12th, Mayor Jane Castor issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency
for the City of Tampa, streamlining processes and procedures to ensure timely, appropriate action is taken. See the full order.
On March 16th, Mayor Jane Castor issued an updated executive order to allow for the Administration to move critical City business forward while protecting the health of the public. See the full order. On March 16th, Council Chair Luis Viera also issued a memo to members of City Council. See the memo here.
A local state of emergency was also declared on March 12th by the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group. This decision will support emergency management efforts throughout Hillsborough County, streamlining collaboration between multiple agencies and granting the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group the authority to enforce safety measures. On August 5, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners approved an amendment to the County's Emergency Management Ordinance that dissolved the EPG and restored emergency management authority for all disasters, hurricanes/tropical storms, emergency occurrences, pandemics, and other threats back to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The BOCC will extend the state of emergency if needed. Learn more on the Hillsborough County website.
- The following City of Tampa beaches are open:
- Ben T Davis Beach, 7740 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, 33607
- Cypress Point Beach, 5620 W Cypress St, 33607
- Davis Islands Beach, 864 Severn Ave, 33606
- Picnic Island Beach, 7409 Picnic Island Blvd, 33616
All City of Tampa parks are open. Residents will be able to utilize the amenities listed below only if practicing social distancing. Per Phase 2 of the state's Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step plan, all Florida residents are encouraged to avoid congregating in groups of 50 or larger.
All pools are open. For the latest pool schedules visit http://bit.ly/TpaPools .
Effective June 8 2020, two rental facilities, River Center at Julian B. Lane Park and Seminole Garden Center, will be available for rent with limited capacities and social distancing requirements. Shelter reservations are also available
Residents will be required to follow social distancing guidelines and gatherings of more than 50 people will not be allowed while utilizing any park, pool, or amenity.
The City of Tampa is in constant communication with the Florida Department of Health, Tampa International Airport, the Port of Tampa Bay, local hospitals, and other stakeholders to monitor the situation and prevent the spread of coronavirus in our community.
For years, Tampa Fire Rescue, the Tampa Police Department and our Emergency Management teams have worked together to plan and train our system for disasters -- ranging from hurricanes to outbreaks. Each year, we conduct annual medical surge exercises to test our hospitals and medical system’s response capabilities.
Our EMS personnel will also be extra diligent in looking for symptoms of respiratory illness, and can check the temperature of patients who may present those symptoms.
The City of Tampa has been working around the clock to proactively protect Tampa and stop the spread of coronavirus. Some actions to date include:
- Keeping residents informed through TAMPAREADY and TAMPALISTA text alerts.
- Distributing critical COVID-19 prevention and safety information to every Assisted Living Facility and nursing home in Tampa.
- Launched Tampa's Recovery Hotline to connect residents and business owners with critical social services resources and business relief - available at 1(833)TPA-INFO.
- Strongly encouraging residents to practice social distancing and stay at home as much as possible.
- Mayor Jane Castor declared a local state of emergency on March 12th, to be renewed every 7 days as needed.
- Informing residents through multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram .
- The City is embracing digital trends to reach a wider audience, including launching a a social distancing campaign called #HappyAtHomeTPA on Instagram , utilizing TikTok to reach younger audiences, creating a Social Distancing Spotify playlist, and publishing video PSAs on social media.
The City of Tampa will continue monitoring the situation as it evolves in efforts to minimize the spread and impact of coronavirus in our community. To receive emergency text alerts related to coronavirus and many other emergency situations, text TAMPAREADY or TAMPALISTA to 888-777.
Special Events and Local Attractions
Per Phase 3 of the state's Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step plan, all Florida residents should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments, but this is not required. This has caused several events to be canceled or postponed. Event-goers are encouraged to contact the corresponding organizations with questions regarding cancellations and refunds.
The City will continue working with the Florida Department of Health, Tampa International Airport, Visit Tampa Bay, and other stakeholders to determine whether future event cancellations are necessary.
The City understands the impact that event cancellations have on local businesses and tourism and will continue working with experts to minimize the impact of COVID-19, while prioritizing the health of residents and visitors.
For a full list of canceled or postponed events, visit tampagov.net/event-status.
In accordance with the guidance on public gatherings, Tampa Convention Center events in the near future have been canceled or postponed. For a full list of canceled or postponed events, visit tampagov.net/event-status.
For a full list of canceled or postponed events, visit www.tampagov.net/event-status. Event-goers are encouraged to contact the corresponding organizations with questions regarding cancellations.
- In an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, several local attractions have closed or modified their hours/procedures to protect the health of attendees and the community. For the most up-to-date status, we encourage you to reach out to the attraction directly with questions.
- The American Victory Ship
- Busch Gardens of Tampa Bay
- The Florida Aquarium
- Glazer Children’s Museum
- Henry B. Plant Museum
- Museum of Science and Industry
- Seminole Hard Rock Casino
- Straz Center for the Performing Arts
- Tampa Bay History Center
- Tampa Museum of Art
- ZooTampa at Lowry Park
State officials and Hillsborough County Public School officials are continually monitoring safety guidelines and procedures for the 2020-2021 school year. See the Hillsborough County Public Schools’ website for updates.
Tampa's colleges and universities are following guidance provided by local government and state ordinances. Visit the college or university's website for specific details about closures and online learning actions:
Assisted Living/Retirement Homes Information
- Older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are at higher risk of getting very sick from the virus. They are not at higher risk of contracting the virus; they are at higher risk for
The City of Tampa is home to 83 assisted living facilities and 8 nursing homes. The City of Tampa is working with these facilities to ensure they are prepared to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Signage will be posted at each of the entrances and management is advised to ensure appropriate sick leave is granted to employees who may feel symptoms of illness. Joint operations between The City of Tampa Fire Rescue, Tampa Police Department and Code Enforcement to ensure up-to-date, accurate information is reaching our city’s long-term care facilities. Each nursing home in the City of Tampa will be visited by a City of Tampa representative to ensure the information has been received and taking precautions.
Learn more about people at risk for serious illness from COVID-19
- No, those restrictions remain in place during Phase 2 with conditions set by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).
Social Services and Business Relief
- The City of Tampa understands the burden many of our residents are facing due to COVID-19. Please visit our Social Services page for centralized resources to meet the needs of our community during this difficult
time. This page will be updated on a regular basis as additional assistance becomes available.
For more questions related to Social Services, please call our Tampa's Recovery Hotline at 1-833-TPA-INFO during operating hours
Hillsborough County offers energy assistance programs for low-income and seniors (60 years of age or older). Call (813) 671-7647 or visit their web site here.
Hillsborough County has secured $256 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Effective April 27, Hillsborough County is opening a special call center to help all Hillsborough County residents get access to disaster recovery funds available to assist in paying utility bills, rent, and even mortgage payments. City of Tampa residents who have seen a reduction in or loss of wages resulting from layoff or lessening of hours due to COVID-19, are eligible and encouraged to apply.
- The State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity offers a Reemployment Assistance Program.
- View a list of Food Services providers available in the Tampa area.
The City of Tampa is contracting with Catholic Charities to launch Hillsborough Hope, a space to help protect homeless individuals during this uncertain time. Hillsborough Hope is a temporary homeless shelter that will house 100 homeless individuals. The shelter will provide housing using tents, three meals, showers, laundry, case management and medical care. This voluntary program works to provide those in need with a place to be "safer at home." This open-air layout of shelters and resources allows for appropriate social distancing and provides for the majority of one's needs all in one location.
A project of this magnitude usually requires months and The City of Tampa & Catholic Charities accomplished this goal in just 7 days. Community partners like Ashley Furniture, Smith Fencing, BDG Architects and Oman Construction were crucial in its overall success.
- Ensure employees utilize the recommended precautions from the CDC, encourage sick employees to stay home and clean commonly touched areas regularly. In addition, the CDC recommends that employers have a business response plan to respond in a flexible
way to varying levels of disease severity.
Tips for preparing your business response plan:
- Ensure the plan is flexible and involves your employees
- Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected
- Share your plan with employees, including human resources policies
- Share best practices with other businesses in your communities, including chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts
- Consider switch to teleworking or remote work options for non-essential employees
- The City of Tampa is assembling an Economic Relief Task Force to proactively identify business relief efforts and alleviate the burden of COVID-19. Business owners are encouraged to visit our Small Business Recovery page for a list of assistance programs that may be able to help during this challenging time. This includes information regarding multiple resources available like:
- One Tampa: Relief Now, Rise Together
- Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan
- U.S. Small Business Administration Guidance
- Reemployment Assistance
- R3 Economic Recovery Financial Assistance for Businesses
- and more
For questions related to Business Relief, business owners can call our Tampa's Recovery Hotline at 1-833-TPA-INFO during operating hours.
If you own a business in the City of Tampa, you can also text TAMPABIZ to 888-777 for updates and information.
- Tampa's Recovery Hotline is available at 1-833-TPA-INFO (1-833-872-4636) to answer questions related to social services and business relief.
The hotline is currently available Monday to Friday from 9am-4pm.
- Tampa Electric & Peoples Gas is prepared for the coronavirus pandemic and are taking steps to help customers – and to prevent the virus’ spread. We will continue our essential work to provide safe and reliable electricity and natural gas to our customers, while we work aggressively to mitigate the coronavirus.
- To help customers during this difficult time, Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas have suspended disconnections for non-payment through April.
- As part of our comprehensive pandemic plan:
- We are reducing direct contact with customers and the community by limiting non-essential work, such as in-home energy audits and conservation retrofits, natural gas meter change outs.
- All employees will be maintaining appropriate social distance to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
- We have closed our Manatee Viewing Center for the remainder of the season.
- We will continue to monitor the international health pandemic, and we will respond quickly as the situation changes.
- Important: Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas will never call or show-up in person to demand immediate payment or request a specific payment method such as gift card, credit card or debit card numbers. For additional information on scams related to COVID-19: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2020/03/06/defending-against-covid-19-cyber-scams
Bars and Restaurants
Florida is now in Phase 3 of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan to reopen the state. Per state guidance, bars and nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent of sales from alcohol may operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols encouraged. Adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons are encouraged as well. Menus, if laminated, should be cleaned after each usage. Paper menus should be designed for single use and then disposed of immediately after use.
Florida is now in Phase 3 of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan to reopen the state. Per state guidance, restaurants and foodservice establishments may operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols encouraged. Adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons are encouraged as well. Menus, if laminated, should be cleaned after each usage. Paper menus should be designed for single use and then disposed of immediately after use.
Yes, there is a hotline. You can call the Florida Department of Business and Regulation (DBPR) complaint line at (850) 487-1395.
Feeding Tampa Bay and Metropolitan Ministries are setup to collect and redistribute food donations. Those wishing to donate unused food can contact each of these organizations as follows to get more information about this process and to make arrangements to donate food.
Feeding Tampa Bay:
- Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office has activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline. If you experience price gouging or scams related to COVID-19 commodities, call 1-(866)-9NO-SCAM, or 1-866-966-7226 to file a report.
- As of this time, the CDC has not received reports of companion animals sick with the coronavirus, and there’s no evidence they will be able to spread it to humans in the future. However, since animals can spread other diseases, it’s always a good
idea to wash your hands after being around them. Avoid petting, snuggling, being licked and sharing food.
The CDC says anyone who is sick with the coronavirus should restrict contact with any animals – just like you would around other people.
The best way to protect your pet:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Disinfect all surfaces that are frequently used.
- Vaccinate your pets for all other potential diseases, as recommended by your veterinarian.
- Limit contact with your pets if you or someone you are close to contracts the virus.
Visit the FVMA website for more information.
Gyms and fitness may operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitization.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) has announced service changes in response to reduced demand for service and public safety.