TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A coronavirus curfew in Hillsborough County has turned into a potential courtroom battle.
“This is a tremendous lack of good judgment,” Tampa attorney Patrick Leduc said. “And to be frankly honest, they’re beclowning themselves at this point.”
Leduc directed his comments at the eight-member emergency policy group, made up of leaders from all over the county. In a 5-to-3 vote, they approved the curfew Monday, putting it into action immediately. Hillsborough County Commissioner Kimberly Overman, Temple Terrace Vice Mayor Andy Ross and Plant City Mayor Rick Lott voted against the curfew.
“You’re gonna pass something that effectively puts everybody in jail and at home, that’s what a curfew is,” Leduc said. “News flash: The virus does not attack people between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. The virus is not like Count Dracula and come out only at night!”
Some residents we spoke with are okay with the curfew.
“I mean, I’m definitely one of those people who wishes people would stay home for two weeks, suck it up, so this can all be over with,” South Tampa resident Samantha Katz said.
A copy of the curfew order, which was officially signed Tuesday, is available on the county’s website. However, it does not make clear what is and is not permitted between the hours of the curfew.
The order says people are to stay at home as much as possible unless essential needs are warranted. They are permitted to travel for essential work.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, who is on the emergency group and voted for the curfew, addressed it briefly Tuesday.
“People don’t need to worry about enforcement of that,” the mayor said. “It’s encouragement and education and understanding. You can’t have these large gatherings and take the virus back into your home to those who can least afford to have it.”
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Monday his agency has gotten more than 200 calls in recent weeks of people congregating in large groups.
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