Emergency Order No. 20-3, April 3, 2020

of the Official Authority of Pinellas County Pursuant to Resolution No. 20-16, Declaring a Local State of Emergency and Resolution No. 20-20, establishing “Safer at Home” requirements

Whereas, on March 13, 2020, in conjunction with the activities of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as pursuant the emergency declarations issued by the Governor and the Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners declared a state of local emergency (LSE) by Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners Resolution 20-16 (Board Resolution 20-16); and

Whereas, the LSE was intended to enable the County to effectively respond to the ongoing and evolving public health threat posed by COVID-19, including by taking measures to mitigate and slow the spread of the virus; and

Whereas, the Board has found it necessary to subsequently extend the LSE for additional periods due to the ongoing threat posed by COVID-19 and the continued need for dynamic and effective response; and

Whereas, in response to the threat of increased community spread within Pinellas County, on March 25, 2020, the Board of County Commissioners adopted Resolution 20-20, “COVID-19 – Safer at Home” Order (Board Resolution 20-20) requiring that businesses not defined as “Essential Services” operate in a manner consistent with the Order, the CDC guidelines on social distancing, and other applicable laws; and

Whereas, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-69 permitting local government bodies to meet utilizing Communications Media Technology without the requirement of a quorum being physically present pursuant to s. 120.54(5)(b)2, Florida Statutes; and

Whereas, the County has not previously adopted procedures to meet the requirements of s. 120.54, Florida Statutes; and
WHEREAS, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91 (“EO 20-91”) ordering all persons to stay at home unless participating in an essential service or activity; and

Whereas, pursuant to Section 34-23, Pinellas County Code, the Official Authority is granted the power to impose restrictions by executive order; and

Whereas, in order to meet the public health objectives of Board Resolutions 20-16 and 20-20, and Governor DeSantis’ EO 20-91, in light of the need to maintain social distancing and protect public health during this pandemic it is necessary to take the further action stated below in accordance with s. 252.38, Florida Statutes.

Now therefore, in accordance with the powers granted to me by Board Resolution 20-16, as extended, I now order the following shall be the procedures for virtual meetings of the Board of County Commissioners utilizing Communications Media Technology (CMT):

  • No in-person live public participation will be available to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent practicable.
  • The public will be given multiple avenues to comment on agenda items or other matters coming before the Board for a vote.
  • Given the complexities of the virtual platforms and the emergency situation under which we are operating, the “citizens to be heard” portion of the meetings will be suspended until the emergency conditions have abated. The public can comment on any item coming before the Board for a vote, and the public can always access their County Commissioners at www.pinellas.gov.
  • All virtual meetings will be noticed as a virtual meeting in the same manner as required for a non-CMT proceeding, and shall plainly state that such proceeding is to be conducted utilizing CMT and identify the specific type of CMT to be used. The notice shall describe how interested persons may attend and shall include instructions in the notice addressing:
    • How to view the virtual meeting through live stream or broadcast.
    • The web address and phone number access where an interested person may go for the purpose of attending the proceeding.
    • An address, e-mail address, and telephone number where an interested person may write or call for additional information.
    • An address, e-mail address, and designated person to whom a person may submit written or other physical evidence which he or she intends to offer into evidence during the CMT proceedings.
  • The notice of a virtual meeting will also contain instructions, or methods of accessing instructions, addressing how to comment prior to the meeting.
  • All other usual Pinellas County Commission meeting practices will be observed to the greatest extent practicable, subject to the discretion of the Chair.

Ordered this 3rd day of April, 2020 at 5:41 p.m.

Barry Burton, County Administrator

PCAO Doc No 267565

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