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.
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.
You can learn more about coronavirus symptoms on the CDC’s website.
- If you suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness (such a cough or difficulty breathing), you should stay home and call your healthcare provider. They will guide you on whether you should be tested and direct you to a COVID-19 testing site.
A temporary COVID-19 testing site has been established at Raymond James Stadium. Limited testing kits and medical supplies are available. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please call the Hillsborough County Call Center at (813) 272-5900 to be screened and pre-registered for a testing appointment. The call center is open weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm until Tuesday, April 7, 2020, while supplies last.
The following health care providers offer virtual health screenings using your computer or mobile device:Advent Health e-Care
$59 per visit
$59 per visit
Tampa General Hospital Virtual Care
$49 per visit
If you are sick you should also:
- Stay home and avoid going out in public
- 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.
- For additional questions about Coronavirus, call the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 Call Center (open 24/7) at 1-866-779-6121 or email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
- Elderly residents and those with pre-existing health conditions are at the highest risk of developing severe symptoms. However, anyone can contract coronavirus and spread it to others, even without symptoms. All individuals should take extra precautions to wash their hands, stay away from sick people, and seek medical attention if they become ill. All residents, regardless of age or medical history should follow the CDC’s recommendations for preventing the spread of coronavirus to protect themselves and the most vulnerable members of our community.
- 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 Recovery Hotline for social services and business relief is available Mon-Fri from 8am-8pm and Sat-Sun 9am-5pm. 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
- On March 26, the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group issued the Safer at Home order, effective March 27, 2020 at 10pm.
Visit the Safer at Home order page to learn more about what the order is and find frequently asked questions.
- 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. The local state of emergency will be in effect for 7 days and can be extended if needed.
- Public beaches in the City of Tampa are closed until further notice. This does not include all boat ramps. The following boat ramps are open:
- Lowry Park Boat Ramp
- Ballast Point Boat Ramp
- Picnic Island Boat Ramp
In alignment with the Safer at Home order, issued on March 26, 2020, all City of Tampa park and park facilities will be closed until further notice, effective March 27, 2020 at 10 pm. Read more about park closures.
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
- Restaurants are permitted to serve guests via takeout or delivery only
- Bars and nightclubs are closed
- Public gatherings over 10 or more have been banned
- 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 Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group issued a Stay at Home order, effective March 27, 2020 at 10pm. 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
At this time, public gatherings of more than 10 people have been banned in Florida. 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 cancelations 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 limitation 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.
- The following events have been canceled or postponed:
- EcoFest – Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park (4/19)
- Tampa Bay Seafood Festival – Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (4/24-26)
- Kenny Chesney Concert – Raymond James Stadium (5/9)
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 will be closed to protect the health of attendees and the community. All are encouraged to contact the corresponding organizations with questions regarding cancellations and closures.
- 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
This list will be updated as new information becomes available, but for the most up-to-date status, we encourage you to reach out to the attraction directly.
The Florida Department of Education has directed all school districts in Florida to keep schools closed through May 1st due to concerns over the coronavirus.
In order to comply with that directive, the following facts will be in effect immediately:
- All Hillsborough County Public Schools will be closed, including traditional and charter, through May 1;
- ALL extracurricular activities will be cancelled during this timeframe;
- We will continue online eLearning during this time. You can find our district’s eLearning Plan on our website, HillsboroughSchools.org/coronavirus;
- We will continue providing our students nutritious meals, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at 147 sites. You can find those sites on our Grab and Go page, HillsboroughSchools.org/coronavirus/grabandgo.
See Hillsborough County Public Schools’ updates.
From March 30th through May 1st, Hillsborough Schools will establish Grab-and-Go sites to ensure that students have accessibility to nutritious meals. 147 locations have been chosen to provide meals - breakfast and lunch - at no cost to children 18 years and under. Each location will start serving food to those 18 years old from 9am - 1 pm daily. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to drive to the location, but walk-ups will also be accepted. The food will be distributed directly from school buses, which will be set up in the designated car line at the designated schools.
In order to keep record of food distribution between March 23rd and May 1, every student or young adult 18 or under must be present in order to receive a bagged breakfast and lunch. Meals can be picked up once a day between the hours of 9 am and 1 pm.
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
- Florida Division of Emergency Management Director, Jared Moskowitz, has issued an Emergency Order temporarily restricting visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities (ALFs), adult family-care homes, long-term care facilities and adult
group homes. People who will now be restricted from visiting nursing homes, ALFs, adult family-care homes, long-term care facilities and adult group homes include:
- Any person infected with COVID-19 who has not had two consecutive negative test results separated by 24 hours;
- Any person showing or presenting symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath, or sore throat;
- Any person who has or may have been in close contact with a person(s) infected with COVID-19 who has not tested negative for COVID-19 is prohibited from visiting a facility until 14 days after their interaction with the person(s) who is infected with COVID-19;
- Any person who traveled internationally is prohibited from visiting a facility until 14 days after their return to the United States;
- Any person who traveled on a cruise ship is prohibited from visiting a facility until 14 days after their return to the United States;
- Any person who has been in a community with confirmed community spread of COVID-19, as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a state public health agency, is prohibited from visiting a facility within 14 days of their presence in the community with community spread; or
- Any person who resides in a community with confirmed community spread of COVID-19, as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a state public health agency, is prohibited from visiting a facility.
View the full scope of the order.
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 (6o years of age or older). Call (813) 671-7647 or visit their web site here.
- 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:
- Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan
- U.S. Small Business Administration Guidance
- Reemployment Assistance
- 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 through Friday 8 am-8 pm.
- 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
On March 17, 2020, Governor DeSantis ordered that all bars and nightclubs throughout Florida will close for the next 30 days. Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) will be enforcing and providing further guidance. Watch this announcement here . Read more here.
On March 20, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-71, directing all restaurants and food establishments within the State of Florida to suspend on-premises food and alcohol consumption for customers.
The listed establishments may, however, operate their kitchens for the purpose of providing delivery or take-out services.
This means that restaurants may not seat customers for on-premise consumption of food. However, delivery, takeout and drive-thru services are still allowed (24/7)
Yes, there is a hotline. You can call the Florida Department of Business and Regulation (DBPR) complaint line at (850) 487-1395.
All on-premises consumption of alcohol is banned until the Governor’s Declared State of Emergency expires.
Establishments with a State License that allows them to sell alcoholic beverages for on or off premise consumption, may sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption but only in sealed containers (e.g. unopened bottles, cans, boxed wine, etc).
Restrictions on those restaurants licensed by the State as a “Special food service establishment” (as defined by statute - i.e., 2500 sf of service area, equipped to serve meals to 150 people at a time, and derives 51% of revenue from food and non-alcoholic beverage sales) are suspended to allow them to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for off-premises consumption as part of a takeout or delivery order if:
- the order includes the sale of food, and
- The delivery is made by a vehicle owned/leased by or under contract with the vendor- which vehicles shall be subject to inspection per 561.57, Fla.Stat.*
Certain statutory limitations have also been suspended in order to allow licensed alcoholic beverage vendors to request the return of undamaged alcoholic beverages purchased for events that were canceled due to COVID-19, subject to specific documentation.
Retail stores may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for off-premises consumption
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 Centers are closed, except for those gyms and fitness centers that are:
- A hotel amenity with a capacity of 10 persons or less,
- An amenity of a residential building,
- Inside a police or fire station, or
- Located inside a single-occupant office building
To reduce the spread of coronavirus, several local grocery stores have dedicated shopping hours for customers age 65+ and other at-risk populations.
Yes. Under the Safer at Home order, you are permitted to use public transit to perform essential services and necessary activities. In support of Hillsborough County's Safer at Home order and in response to reduced demand for service, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) has announced service changes.
As of Wednesday, April 1, 2020, HART will temporarily reduce service hours and operate all modes of transit on a Sunday service schedule with regular fares. HART will also operate service Monday through Friday for Routes 20X, 24LX, 25LX, 31, and 60LX on their regular weekday schedule. There will be no HARTFlex service.
HART has also modified the TECO Streetcar Line System schedule to:
- Monday – Friday: 7am – 9pm
- Saturday – Sunday: 8:30am – 9pm