HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Starting this week, Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Officers are going to local businesses every day to make sure everyone is following CDC guidelines. Previously officers were only responding to code violation calls every once in a while.

County officials say because of the holidays and the current spike in Coronavirus cases in the area, it’s more important than ever to monitor local businesses to make sure people are taking precautions. “It helps the whole community as a whole. We all benefit from stopping the spread and slowing the spread,” said Code Enforcement Officer, Jon-Paul Lavandeira, who elaborates the focus of the visits is education. “We’re not out to write anybody up, we’re not out for any of that nature at all. We want to do some outreach and give folks as much information as possible.”

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Now, code enforcement officers are checking on businesses daily, as holiday shopping and Coronavirus cases rise. “People are going to get together, that’s just a fact of life,” said Lavandeira. He says the department has increased the number of employees working every day to keep up with the visits. “The intent is to put as many eyes out there as possible,” said Lavandeira.

Monday, the first vaccines were administered in Tampa Bay with hundreds of thousands more expected in the the coming weeks. Pinellas County is soon to follow. Code enforcement officers in Hillsborough County insist on doing their part to keep the public safe while the rest of the public patiently awaits their turn for vaccination. When they visit local businesses, Code Enforcement Officer, Larry Hoffman says they are looking for a few things, “Wearing the required face masks, making sure there is required signage stating that face masks are required in the store. If it’s a larger store, we’ll just have them make an announcement, just as a reminder to have face masks in place.”

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Hoffman says they will continue to make these daily visits through the holiday season, adding, “I live in the area. I have family just like everybody else, and I wear my mask to protect you and hopefully you’re wearing your mask to protect me.”

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