Frequently Asked Questions

What are the COVID-19 safety rules in Pinellas County?

Local safety rules include guidance on face coverings and how bars and restaurants serve their customers. Both ordinances are in place while the county remains in a State of Local Emergency

Face Coverings

The countywide ordinance 20-14 took effect in June. It states:

A face covering is defined as a material that covers your nose and mouth and remains affixed, or a face shield. A cloth face covering, or mask, may be factory-made or sewn by hand and can be improvised from clothing or other household fabric items.

  • Citizens must wear a face covering in indoor public places within Pinellas County, although the Board provided several exceptions. Among them:
    • The County ordinance mandate cannot conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • The ordinance does not apply if a person is strictly adhering to social distancing and there are 10 or fewer people in the location who are also maintaining social distancing.
    • It does not apply to governmental entities such as schools, courthouses or city halls, although those entities are encouraged to develop procedures to protect employees and the public. 
    • If a person is under age 18, that person’s use of a face covering to comply with the ordinance is left to the discretion of that person’s parent, guardian or an accompanying adult. 
    • Religious rituals such as various forms of singing are permitted under the ordinance provided that social distancing is strictly maintained.
    • The ordinance does not prohibit exercising while social distancing, such as in a gym, without a face covering. 
    • Retail employees must wear face coverings unless working in an area of the business that is not open to the customers and has social distancing measures in place.
       

Bars and Restaurants

Ordinance 20-14 also took effect in June. It states:

  • Patrons must be seated to be served drinks for on-site consumption.
  • Patrons must wear a face covering except when seated and eating or drinking and distanced six feet from other parties.
  • Employees must wear a face covering whether directly or indirectly preparing food or drinks, whether having customer contact or not, and whether indoors or outdoors. 
  • Tables/bar stools must be spaced so that individuals and their companion(s) are separated six feet from others. Tables are limited to 10 guests. 
  • Standing areas are not allowed. Patrons waiting to be seated must remain distanced in groups of no more than 10 people.
  • Bars and restaurants must establish rules that encourage social distancing, hand-washing and other protective measures based on CDC guidance.
  • Businesses are reminded that the ordinance does not affect their obligations under federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Are restaurant owners and managers required to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms?

No, but it is recommended that restaurants and bars continue to follow CDC Guidelines for Restaurants and Bars

Recognize Signs and Symptoms


How can I get tested for COVID-19?

Please visit our Testing Info page for the latest information on COVID-19 testing.


What is Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-244? Does it mean there are no COVID-19 restrictions in Pinellas County?

Executive Order 20-244, signed on Sept. 25 by Governor DeSantis, does not impact the local ordinance Pinellas County adopted, including the face covering requirement for indoor facilities and that customers be seated to be served at a bar or restaurant.

While the governor’s order suspends the collection of fines and penalties associated with COVID-19 enforced upon individuals, it does not restrict counties and municipalities from enforcing rules on businesses.


Do I need to wear a mask in public?

The Board of County Commissioners adopted an emergency face covering ordinance that requires citizens wear face coverings in most indoor public places, and restaurants and bars to implement new safety and anti-crowding measures.

The countywide ordinance took effect Wednesday, June 24, at 5 p.m., and will remain in effect through the duration of Pinellas County’s State of Local Emergency.

The ordinance defines a face covering as a material that covers the nose and mouth and remains affixed or a face shield. A cloth face covering, or mask, may be factory-made or sewn by hand and can be improvised from clothing or other household fabric items.

Requirements:

  • Citizens must wear a face covering while in most indoor public places within Pinellas County, although the Board provided several exceptions. Among them:
    • The mandate cannot conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • It does not apply if a person is strictly adhering to social distancing and there are 10 or fewer people in the location who are also maintaining social distancing.
    • It does not apply to governmental entities such as schools, courthouses or city halls, although those entities are encouraged to develop procedures to protect employees and the public. 
    • If a person is under age 18, that person’s use of a face covering is left to the discretion of that person’s parent, guardian or an accompanying adult. 
    • Religious rituals such as various forms of singing are permitted provided that social distancing is strictly maintained.
    • Exercising while social distancing, such as in a gym, is permitted without a face covering. 
  • Restaurant staff must wear a face covering while on duty and while directly or indirectly preparing food or beverage, or serving food or beverage, or having customer contact, regardless of where the food or beverage is being prepared or whether the customers are inside or outside. Customers can remove their face coverings while dining or consuming a beverage when seated and social distancing.
  • Restaurants must position chairs and tables so that parties of one or more are separated by six feet and patrons are not standing at the bar or congregating in any area.
  • Retail employees must wear face coverings unless working in an area of the business that is not open to the customers and has social distancing measures in place. 

See the detailed FAQ about face coverings for more information.


Do out-of-state visitors need to quarantine?

Currently, the state of Florida has no travel restrictions in place. Visit the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 website for the latest information on travel restrictions.

The CDC also provides guidance on travel. More information can be found on the CDC’s Travelers page and travel FAQs page


Are county and state parks open? 

State parks reopened on Monday, May 4.

Most county parks have remained open during the COVID-19 outbreak.  


Are churches, temples, and other places of worship allowed to remain open? 

Places of worship can hold services as long as CDC social distancing guidelines can be maintained. 


Are the courts open? Do I still have jury duty?

The Florida Supreme Court has determined that jury trials may resume in Pinellas County. In response, Sixth Circuit Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino has directed the Pinellas Clerk of Courts to begin reissuing juror summons for trials scheduled to begin on October 26, 2020. Read Clerk Burke’s letter regarding Jury Trials Scheduled to Resume October 26th.

For the best and latest information about Pinellas County court proceedings, visit the Pinellas Clerk’s Office Coronavirus page.


Are elective medical procedures allowed? 

Elective medical procedures resumed on Monday, May 4, 2020. 


Where can I find more information about COVID-19?

Visit the CDC’s website to learn the latest, best information on COVID-19. For statewide information, head to the Florida Department of Health’s website.


Where can I get financial help or food assistance? 

Please visit our Get Help page for community resources such as income assistance and food pantries.


What is Pinellas County doing in response to COVID-19?

  • Our leadership is working closely with other county officials from agencies including DOH-Pinellas, law enforcement, fire & EMS and schools.
  • Our County staff is supporting the local DOH by coordinating planning, resources and response with our municipal and community partners.  
  • Our Emergency Management Department is coordinating multiple work groups to address specific needs within our community.
  • Our Planning Team is gathering and analyzing data to help county leadership and elected officials make the best-informed decisions about when and how to help life return to normal around the county.
  • Our Logistics Team is collecting, coordinating, and distributing supplies.
  • Our Business Team is working with local businesses to provide them with information about recovery plans and opportunities.
  • Our Feeding Team is collaborating with area non-profits and the Pinellas County School District to prepare and distribute hundreds of thousands of meals to children and vulnerable residents.
  • Our Live Chat Team is fielding hundreds of resident inquiries and requests for help.
  • We’ve enhanced our facility sanitation protocols to protect our employees and residents.
  • Our Marketing & Communications team is working with our departments and partners to ensure residents and businesses are connected to the resources that they need to stay safe and endure the impacts of the virus on our community. Check out the county’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages for daily messages on these and other important topics.

Where can I find data, maps, and GIS information regarding COVID-19?

A site has been created at https://egis.pinellas.gov/apps/COVID19/ where you can access our hub of maps and resources, including virus status, food resources, and more. In addition, a Data Dashboard site has been created that provides the best available snapshot of COVID-19 cases and testing in Pinellas County to date, as well as daily healthcare system capacity.


How has Pinellas County funded COVID-19 response?

For information on COVID-19 expenditures, please see the COVID-19 Spending Report and Expenditure Summary.