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Hillsborough County Rule Changes for Bars Restaurants and Nightclubs

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – Some rule changes for Hillsborough County businesses. Customers must be seated while eating or drinking in local businesses, and congregating in common areas such as dance floors unless waiting to be seated will be prohibited under changes approved Wednesday by Hillsborough County commissioners.

The changes to the County’s face coverings order were approved by a majority of commissioners and affect businesses such as restaurants, nightclubs and bars that serve food or drinks for on-site consumption.

Under the amended order, patrons cannot be served while standing in a bar or common area, and standing at the bar is prohibited. The changes also prohibit congregation in common areas unless waiting to be seated and observing social distancing. The revisions to the face-covering order take effect immediately.

Commissioners heard projections on the timeline of when and to whom the vaccine will be distributed. Officials from the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County told commissioners the vaccine will be distributed on a tiered basis, with the highest priority for health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, and those 65 and older with underlying health conditions. That effort has begun and will ramp up throughout January as the vaccine supply increases.

The second priority level will include workers in essential categories such as transportation, utilities, and education. Those vaccines are expected to be administered beginning in February. The third priority will be the general public; vaccine administration in that phase is projected to begin in late March or April.

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