Manatee County Commissioners approve temporary curfew, additional steps to protect public health

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Manatee County Commissioners approve temporary curfew, additional steps to protect public health
Posted on 04/03/2020

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (April 3, 2020) – Manatee County Commissioners today approved additional measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to protect law enforcement and first responders who face a critical stretch this April as COVID-19 cases climb steadily in Florida.

The supplemental local emergency resolution creates a temporary local curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., seven days a week. It also gives law enforcement agencies the ability to enforce group gathering restrictions on private property, in conjunction with Governor DeSantis' Executive Order 20-91 & 20-92. Today's resolution was posted online Friday morning but Commissioners made minor changes to the document before approving. The approved final resolution will be posted to the county's COVID-19 page when it is available.

"We're at a pivotal point to make a difference and to flatten the curve," said Public Safety Director Jacob Saur. "I do believe with a curfew, the public should know they shouldn’t be out on the roadways. The curfew is a time when you should be at home."

Saur said several EMS staff have already needed to be quarantined because of accidental exposure to COVID-19. He voiced concern that as the virus continues to spread, law enforcement officers and other first responders will become depleted by sickness or quarantine. For that reason, he said additional local restrictions are needed now.

"We are receiving an average of 100 COVID-19 calls a day," Saur said. "Each coronavirus call takes two hours to complete. At night and on weekends, other medical emergencies still occur, like trauma, people having accidents. That still occurs every day and every night."

Under the supplemental local emergency resolution, Manatee Sheriff’s Office and municipal police department officers now have the ability to issue citations to anyone not in compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order 20-91 & 20-9. Law enforcement will now also have the ability to cite outside group gatherings on private property. Under Florida Statute 252.50, those who violate the State Emergency Management Act are guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor and can be served a Notice to Appear order.

Commissioners were leery of infringing on personal freedoms, but voted 5-2 to approve the resolution in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to protect first responders.

"I want to make sure everyone's civil liberties are protected but we could argue that COVID-19 has already led to some restraints on our civil liberties when you think about the travel ban and the quarantine," said Commissioner Misty Servia.

"The public should realize we take this very seriously but we're doing the best we can in extremely bad times," added Commissioner Priscilla Trace.

Before today's action, local COVID-19 restrictions were only enforceable on public property such as public beaches and public boat ramps. County and city officials say the public has largely heeded those restrictions, but group gatherings at private residences – such as vacation rental homes, recreation centers and event halls – continue to pose a public health risk.

The meeting can be viewed on demand on the County's YouTube channel. It will also air periodically on Manatee Government Access (MGA) channel locally on Spectrum channel 644, Verizon channel 30 and Comcast channel 20.

County, law enforcement and municipal leaders from each of the County’s municipalities discussed the curfew and private property restrictions during a virtual Emergency Policy Group meeting this week. The group agreed that the additional measures will send a clear message to Manatee County residents that social distancing orders must be taken seriously and are not to be ignored.

The proposed curfew prohibits non-essential travel (travel that is not for food, medicine, essential supplies, employment) between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., seven days a week.

View the latest on Manatee County's community-wide effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by visiting or text ManateeReady to 888-777. For more information on Manatee County Government, visit or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.