Pinellas County extends local state of emergency, rescinds safer at home order

Coronavirus

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners has voted to extend the local state of emergency until May 8. They also voted to rescind the local safer at home order.

The safer at home order was rescinded on Friday with the understanding that the county they would follow Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ plans to reopen the state. Commissioners also wanted to put emphasis on the governor’s recommendations for wearing masks at businesses.

Many on the board, including Commissioner Chair Pat Gerard and Commissioner Janet Long, expressed concerns over the governor’s order and said this is not the first time they have felt like Tallahassee threw them under the bus.

When asked what businesses are essential and non-essential, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said “nothing is closed, the Governor didn’t close anything which is part of what caused us grief.”

The county plans to release a list of businesses that are considered essential by the end of the day.

“As a cautionary note I want to note that some of the states where they have opened up and allowed people to get back to the new normal, they are seeing more cases of COVID,” said Commissioner Karen Seel. “Everyone please be conscious, kind, respectful, and neighborly. Let’s try to relax and loosen but keep COVID in control.”

Dr. Ulyee Choe said they’re looking to increase testing in Pinellas County.

“We may start getting more testing sites as early as next week,” Choe said, adding that some sites will serve people with COVID-19 symptoms, while others will test those without symptoms.

Earlier this week, the commission voted 6-1 to reopen all public beaches in the county on Monday, May 4. They also voted unanimously to open all pools on Thursday.

For more information on the governor’s plan, click here.

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