COVID-19 Response & Recommendations
Pinellas County public beaches and public beach parking areas are closed for as long as the county is under a local state of emergency.
News & Updates
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get more information?
For info about COVID-19 and the cases in Florida: Go to the CDC's website to learn the latest, best information on COVID-19.
For state-wide information, head to the Florida Department of Health's website.
What is the new guidance for non-essential and essential businesses?
View the latest guidance online.
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 Regional 911 Center has expanded its question criteria for flu-related 911 calls to better assist our residents.
- Emergency first responders have expanded their personal protective gear and ambulance sanitation protocols. You may see our first responders in ambulances wearing additional equipment such as masks and gloves – no reason to worry as this is a strictly a precautionary step to stay as safe as possible.
- We’ve enhanced our facility sanitation protocols to protect our employees and residents.
- Pinellas County Solid Waste has canceled mobile collection events for chemicals and electronics March 28 at Clearwater Countryside High School April 4 at Tarpon Springs High School. Also, a tire disposal event set for April 18 has been postponed indefinitely.
- Our Marketing & Communications team continues to share CDC messaging with residents and community groups via the county website and across social media. Check out the county’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for daily messages on this and other important topics.
Are the beaches closed?
Pinellas County public beaches and public beach parking areas are closed 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 20, 2020, for the duration of the local state of emergency. Private owners along the beach must conform to the CDC guidelines of social distancing by maintaining 6 feet of separation from others and limiting group gatherings to no more than 10 people.
Are Pinellas County Schools closed?
Public schools across Florida will be closed until April 15, 2020 to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. For more information, visit the Pinellas County Schools Health and Safety page and the Pinellas County Schools Coronavirus page .
Are the courts open? Do I still have jury duty?
For the best and latest information on Pinellas County court proceedings, visit the Pinellas Clerk’s Office Coronavirus page, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this time, all grand jury proceedings, jury selection proceedings, and criminal and civil jury trials were suspended beginning March 16, 2020 until further order of the Court. All summoned jurors have been excused and will not be rescheduled.
Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida will suspend assorted proceedings and hearings for an unspecified time, addressing only "mission critical" cases, such as first appearances, detention hearings, terminations of parental rights, issuance of warrants/authorization of wiretaps, and other emergency matters as determined by each judge.
Should I cancel my travel plans?
CDC provides recommendations on postponing or canceling travel. These are called travel notices and are based on assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area. A list of destinations with travel notices is available at the CDC's Travelers page .
For more information visit, the CDC’s FAQ’s for travelers .
I am planning to fly soon. Is it safe?
The CDC has advised that due to air circulation and filtration on airplanes, most viruses and germs do not spread easily on airplanes. However, they recommend that travelers avoid contact with sick passengers and wash hands often.
If you have returned from any international travel or a cruise within the last 14 days and you’re sick, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has recently returned from international travel or a cruise and is sick, practice social distancing and call the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center (available 24/7) at 1-866-779-6121 or email COVIDemail@example.com.
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) is proactive in their efforts to combat seasonal viruses and other infections. The airport has increased their cleaning schedule for all hard contact surfaces with added emphasis on restrooms. In addition, the airport is engaging a specialty sanitizing contractor who will come in and electrostatically spray and coat all hard surfaces with disinfectant to include the terminal area, restrooms and offices throughout the airport. This process is referred to as a deep cleaning or sanitization of the terminal. PIE is also purchasing additional hand sanitizing stations for customers’ convenience.
For information on scheduled flights, please visit the St. Pete/Clearwater Airport website.
What should I do if I experience price gouging?
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office has activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline. If you experience price gouging or scams related to masks or cleaning products, call 1-(866)-9NO-SCAM, or 1-866-966-7226 to file a report.
What is the purpose of the recreational vessel order issued by the Governor on March 27, 2020?
The order is meant to keep Pinellas County, and Florida boaters as a whole, a safe distance apart if they choose to go out on their boat during the COVID-19 state of emergency. The order helps boaters adhere to the CDC guidelines of social distancing by limiting contact between people who may be sick or have been exposed to persons ill with COVID-19 during the state of emergency.
What does the recreational vessels order mean for boaters?
Boaters in Pinellas County, and throughout Florida, must:
- Limit recreational vessel occupancy to no more than 10 persons per vessel, and;
- Maintain a minimum distance of 50 feet between recreational vessels and any other vessel.
Can boaters gather on beaches or in shallow waters off of beaches in Pinellas County?
No. Pinellas County public beaches are closed for the duration of the local state of emergency. State beaches are closed until further notice, as well. The recreational vessel order also designates that boaters cannot create navigational hazards by engaging in behavior that results in gatherings that violates CDC guidelines for safe social distancing. Executive Order 20-09 Recreational Vessels Covid-19.
Do recreational boats have to be 50 feet apart at marinas, mooring fields, permanently installed wet slips or while underway?
No. Permitted mooring fields, public or private marinas or any other permanently installed wet slips are exempt from the 50-foot mandate in the order. It also does not apply to vessels underway unless they are tied, rafted or moored to another vessel.
How long will the order be in place?
The order will stay in place as long the Governor's Executive Order 20-52, declaring a state of emergency in Florida due to COVID-19, is in place unless it is rescinded or superseded at an earlier date.
What agency is enforcing the order?
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the Constitutionally-delegated authority enforcing this order.
Where can I find information on data, maps, and GIS information?
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.
The Pinellas County Human Services department and our regional partners are working to provide assistance to citizens impacted by COVID 19.
Call the Citizen Information Center at (727) 464-4333. Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Residents who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact the CIC via online chat.
Food Pantry/Distribution Sites
To find the closest schools that are offering meals to students during school closures, visit Summer BreakSpot.
Home Meal Delivery for Kids & Seniors
- Meals on Wheels for Kids
- Neighborly Care Network/Meals on Wheels for Seniors: Drive-thru and delivery options available for older adults 60+ with safe social distancing – Call 727-573-9444
Apply for Food & Nutrition Assistance
Many requirements to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have been waived to help more people get immediate help paying for essentials – no in-person interviews are required.
Apply online or call 866-762-2237 or 850-300-4323 (TTY 1-800-955-8771). Agents are available for extended hours, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If you are currently out of work, the Florida Reemployment Assistance Program may be able to provide financial assistance while you are unemployed. Learn more about eligibility and the application process.
Duke Energy announced on March 15 that the company would not disconnect customers’ service for non-payment at this time in order to give customers experiencing financial hardship extra time to make payments. For more information, visit Duke Energy’s website.
For information about emergency business loans, reporting economic damages, and other resources for Pinellas County businesses, visit Pinellas County Economic Development.
Mental Health Support
The following crisis hotlines provide free, confidential mental health support:
Resources for Seniors
The following information is provided by the Area Association on Aging in Pinellas. AAAPP offices are closed to the public and staff are working remotely. All critical services will continue to be available by phone.
- AAAP Helpline and Intake/Screening/Medicaid teams remain open during normal business hours. Call 1-800-963-5337 or 727-217-8111 for out of area callers.
- Nutrition providers remain available. Home meal delivery is being completed with six feet of distance to protect the elder receiving the meal and congregate dining has transitioned into drive-through dining services. Drive through meal options are readily available for any older adult 60+. To sign up, call Neighborly (Pinellas residents) at 727-573-9444 or Pasco Senior Services (Pasco residents) at 727-834-3340.
- SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) and Senior Victim Advocacy/Elder Abuse teams are available for support and assistance via telephone only. You can reach both programs via the Helpline number above.
- Case management teams are continuing to coordinate & provide services wherever possible to individuals, but have put in place extra precautions to avoid the spread of the disease.
- Adult day care, senior center programming, and other community sites are largely suspended. Check with the direct provider or municipality for updates on site closures.
Senior Shopping Hours:
- Winn-Dixie and Fresco y Mas: The stores now welcome seniors and high-risk customers from 8 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Pharmacies are also open.
- Publix: Starting March 24, those 65 and older can shop from 7 to 8 a.m. each Tuesday and Wednesday until further notice. Pharmacies will also be open.
- Walmart: The stores will invite customers 60 and older from 6 to 7 a.m. Tuesdays beginning March 24 through April 28. Pharmacies and vision centers will also be open.
- Target: reserving the first hour of shopping each Wednesday to support vulnerable guests, including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns.
- Dollar General: dedicating their first hour of operations each day to senior citizens.
- Whole Foods: serving customers who are 60 and older one hour before opening to the general public, under their new adjusted hours posted on the store's website.
- Fresh Market: inviting those most at risk in for an hour of safe shopping every weekday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Community Operations and Updates
- Department of Children and Families storefronts, Social Security offices, and many municipal offices are closed or suspended at this time. Many are still offering information and support via telephone – check with the specific provider for details.
- Transportation services for those who need it are available through Find a Ride Florida. PSTA has currently suspended all fees for riders until further notice to assist with social distancing practices.
How to Help
Donate supplies to county donation centers:
Anticipating potential shortages in the countywide response to COVID-19, Pinellas County is proactively collecting personal protective equipment (PPE) and disinfectants for our hospitals, first responders, emergency medical services, nursing homes and home healthcare workers. View needed supplies and donation drop-off locations.
Donate to local food banks:
Donations to food pantries in our area have slowed because of COVID-19, despite increased demand for food. Feeding Tampa Bay provides food to families in need in the 10-county area of West Central Florida. Cash donations are the best way to help right now. According to Feeding Tampa Bay, $1 = 10 meals. Make a donation.
Buy digital gift cards to support our local restaurants:
Help support the local businesses that make our Pinellas County communities such a unique and special place to live. Buy a gift card to help get them through this challenging time.
Deliver a meal to a neighbor in need:
Neighborly Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver 10 - 15 hot meals to homebound seniors, typically once per week between 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Volunteers can help at one of eight locations throughout the county. Those interested in volunteering can call 727-573-9444, ext. 4391 and leave their email address. View more information.
Blood donations are down nationwide, and blood centers are in critical need of donors. Local blood banks are taking precautions to keep donors safe and urging people to donate. Find a donation location.
Run errands for an elderly or disabled neighbor:
A group of local volunteers in St. Pete Beach area is offering to run errands for neighbors in need. More information on Next Door.
Donate or help deliver toilet paper to seniors:
A coalition of local Tampa Bay area businesses, volunteers and concerned residents is working together to help ensure senior citizens have access to toilet paper during this critical time. To donate toilet paper or volunteer to deliver, visit DonateARoll.com
Donate to a nonprofit organization in need:
- CASA: St. Petersburg domestic violence shelter CASA is housing dozens of children who are not in school or at daycare. The organization is in need of games, toys, books, cleaning supplies and other basic items to keep parents and kids healthy. View CASA’s Amazon Wishlist and donate items.
- Pinellas Community Foundationhas created two funds to help address our community's most pressing needs during the COVID-19 crisis. The PCF Community Recovery & Resilience Fund supports organizations fulfilling basic needs and providing critical services to help our most vulnerable, and the PCF Childhood Hunger Relief Fund targets 36,000+ children at risk of having little to no food access. Make a donation
- Ronald McDonald House: Ronald McDonald Houses in the Tampa Bay area help the families of hospitalized children, but now volunteers can no longer come into the houses to cook for and feed those families. Donations to their emergency meals fund will help ensure these families are fed and safe. Make a donation
- Seaside Seabird Sanctuary: Due to the limited stock of supplies in stores at this time, the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary is in dire need of bottles of bleach. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to their sanctuary at 18328 Gulf Blvd, Indian Shores, FL 33785.
- Directions for Living is providing free emotional support counseling to any Pinellas County resident. This is an un-funded program, and so any donations will help continue the service. Make a donation.
If your local nonprofit organization is experiencing an increased need for donations or volunteers as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and you would like us to help spread the word, send us a message.
Restrictions on Nonessential Businesses
Pinellas County's Stay At Home order requires nonessential businesses to close. View information about the difference between an essential business and a nonessential business.
Florida Executive Order 20-91
Pinellas County Executive Order 20-23
On Weds., April 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order requiring all Florida residents to stay at home except to obtain or provide essential services.
On Thurs., April 2, Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton issued an executive order requiring all non-essential businesses in the county to close for the duration of the local state of emergency.
Florida Executive Order 20-71
On Friday, March 20, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order requiring the closure of all restaurants, except for takeout and delivery service, and the closure of all gyms.
Florida Executive Order 20-68
Pinellas County Executive Order
On Tuesday, March 17, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton issued executive orders restricting restaurant occupancy and the hours in which establishments can serve alcohol.
Business can report economic losses related to COVID-19 online at www.pced.org/damage.
The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement economic relief programs for businesses can begin.
Federal Paycheck Protection Program and SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans
State of Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans
For information and updates about emergency business loans, reporting economic damages, and resources for Pinellas County businesses, visit the Pinellas County Economic Development Council website or follow on LinkedIn.
Florida businesses can also visit http://floridadisaster.biz for more information.
Our local businesses continue to assist us through this crisis with generosity and innovation. If you'd like to learn how your business can help, please visit the Pinellas County Economic Development website.
Air travelers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut
By governor's order, all citizens entering Florida from an area with substantial COVID-19 community spread, including the New York Tri-State area (New York, Connecticut, New Jersey), must self-isolate for 14 days or for the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter. Additionally, anyone who has arrived from the Tri-State area during the three-week period preceding March 25 must self-isolate for 14 days.
Florida Executive Order 2020-82
If you have plans to travel, be sure you check the
CDC's website for updates.
- Check the CDC’s website for recommendations on
postponing or canceling travel.
- The CDC recommends that travelers avoid nonessential
travel to high-risk destinations with level 3 travel notices. Check the CDC’s geographic risk assessment map for areas facing widespread cases of COVID-19 that have been
issued a travel notice.
- Keep in mind, certain countries are allowing travel, but reentry to the United States may be restricted.
- Elderly adults or those with chronic medical conditions
should talk to a healthcare provider and consider postponing travel to destinations with level 2 travel notices.
- Practice basic hygiene, prepare to wash your hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- It is especially important to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- The CDC reports that the risk of COVID-19 infection is low on airplanes, however, travelers should avoid contact with passengers who are sick
While traveling, it is especially important to practice increased hygiene, including washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze (and throwing the tissue away), and keeping your distance from those who may be ill.
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) is open and operating. Patrons should verify flights with their airlines. Allegiant Air is updating info at https://www.allegiantair.com/travel-advisory-more-info. Airport officials are following the guidance of the CDC to protect the health and safety of passengers, employees and tenants. Precautionary steps include the following increased cleaning and sanitizing
- Total Clorox 360 sanitizing of all surfaces
- Increased intensity and frequency of disinfecting hard surfaces and high-touch areas throughout the airport
- Increased cleaning efforts in the restrooms and other public areas
- Assuring public restrooms are supplied with soap and towels
- Additional hand sanitizing stations installed throughout the airport
For information on scheduled flights, please visit St. Pete/Clearwater Airport website.
- Currently, passengers returning from China in the past 14 days will be allowed to reenter the United States, however they will be directed to one of 11 US airports to be screened for fever and COIVD-19 symptoms. These travelers will be placed under certain restrictions depending on their health and travel history.
- Find information about traveling from China to the United States .
- If you recently visited a country with widespread cases of COVID-19 and you begin to feel sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing within 14 days after leaving the affected country, you should seek medical care immediately.
- Call your doctor ahead of time before visiting their office or emergency room and tell them about your recent travel and symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others and use a face mask when interacting with healthcare professionals, family members, etc.
- Avoid public gatherings or public transportation.
- Call the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 hotline (open 24/7) at: 1 (866) 779-6121.
Pinellas County is working closely with Visit St. Pete/Clearwater to monitor COVID-19’s impact on tourism in our area. For more information, head to the Visit St. Pete/Clearwater site .
What events have been affected?
Most public meetings and public events attracting more than 10 people have been canceled, postponed or are being held online. This includes private functions such as church services. Please contact the event organizer for confirmation. Here is a helpful link listing canceled gatherings around the area: www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/03/12/ coronavirus-event-cancellations-in-tampa-bay/ .
Parks: All events have been canceled at Pinellas County’s parks and preserves. The County’s parks and preserves remain open except for Sand Key Park, Fort De Soto Park, Heritage Village and the education centers at Weedon Island Preserve and Brooker Creek Preserve. At Fort De Soto, the campground remains open to those with existing reservations, and the boat ramp is open.
View Parks & Preserves Latest Closing Information
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Protect yourself and your community from COVID-19.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick.
For more information on how you can protect yourself, please visit the CDC's Prevention Treatment page .
Watch for Symptoms
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
For more information on the symptoms you should watch out for, please visit the CDC's Symptoms .
What to do if you are sick
Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to
COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your
healthcare provider immediately.
Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick:
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Wear a facemask if you are sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
- Monitor your symptoms
For more information on how you can prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick, please visit the CDC's Steps When Sick page .
Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center is Available 24/7
Call: 1 (866) 779-6121
For additional information and helpful links regarding COVID-19, please visit the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 website at FloridaHealth.gov/COVID-19.