COVID-19 (Coronavirus Pandemic)

The Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller’s Office is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and is taking all precautionary actions as recommended by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Florida Department of Health is providing a dashboard, updated twice daily, tracking COVID-19 cases in the state. Additionally, Pasco County is providing resources about countywide closures, cancellations, and postponements

We care about our customers, partners, and teammates and we encourage the use of our online and telephone resources that make it possible to self-quarantine while accomplishing important business. Those who need to resolve issues, pay fines, check on public records, or track court events will find these options and more at their fingertips. Many of the services listed below are linked through our website.

Most common services available on our website

The options described above are intended to be thorough, but not exhaustive. In our ongoing mission to #ServeAndConnect, we encourage you to contact us if you are unable to find what you are looking for. You may save yourself a trip, and that’s always a good thing – but better still with the current pandemic.

If you are unable to perform your specific task through one of our online or telephone resources, our Office locations remain open during normal business hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Updates on specific programs or services

Florida Department of Health, Pasco

(UPDATED 7/27/0221) Reports of new COVID-19 cases are surging in the Tampa Bay area, including Pasco County, prompting fresh concerns among area health officials. “I wish I had better news to report,” said Mike Napier, Pasco Department of Health director.

Friday, Pasco reported 336 positive cases, pushing toward the all-time daily high of 500 hit in December. “Some projections indicate we could exceed that daily total by [the end of this] week,” Napier said.

Positivity also spiked, hitting 19%, a pandemic record.

Access to the various vaccine formulas, all of which are reportedly effective against the Delta variant, is abundant and widespread. (And every shot is free!) Find a location convenient to you.

Courts

(UPDATED 8/3/21) Citing the recent local surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, Sixth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino ordered the return of face coverings for courthouses, courtrooms, and jury pool rooms in Pasco and Pinellas counties, effective Monday (Aug. 2).

Wrote Rondolino:

The health, safety, and well-being of our employees and participants in court proceedings are a high priority and we must continue to take steps to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in court facilities. In addition, every event involving potential transmission from a known infected person results in contact tracing, testing and forced absences from work causing disruptions in court business and timely conduct of important proceedings.

Though physical distancing is not required in courtrooms, it is strongly encouraged whenever space permits. Individual requests for distancing will be addressed by the presiding judge. Neither face masks nor physical distancing will be required in areas outside the courtroom such as the hallways.

Read the entire administrative order.

(UPDATED 8/2/2021) TALLAHASSEE – Chief Justice Charles Canady and leadership of the State Courts System continue to monitor health conditions throughout the state and remain alert to guidance provided by state and federal health agencies, including updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations issued Tuesday.

Provisions to respond to changing health conditions are included in Canady’s June 4, 2021, administrative orderPDF Download Opens in new window. The order encourages the continuation of remote court proceedings. Canady directs “each chief judge of a judicial circuit should take all necessary steps to support the remote conduct of other trial court proceedings with the use of technology in accordance with this administrative order and other applicable standards and guidance as may be adopted by the Chief Justice or supreme court.”

This order allows individuals to wear masks in courtrooms and allows participants to request physical distancing. It also includes procedures trial courts may follow to conduct jury trials remotely if all parties consent.

Chief Justice Canady and other judicial branch leaders are actively reviewing available health data and the work of courts throughout the state. Florida’s courts have continued operating during the period of the pandemic and worked to fulfill the judicial branch’s responsibilities to the people.

Canady’s most recent administrative order includes language anticipating regular review of and appropriate reaction to changing circumstances. This wording echoed similar declarations in many of the more than four dozen orders and amendments he has issued while adapting to changing circumstances. Additional orders extending or modifying these measures will be issued as warranted to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the judicial branch and its participants.

Chief Justice Canady issued all the orders under his authority as the chief administrative officer of the State Courts System. In 2020 he created the Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations and Proceedings During and After COVID-19 to provide recommendations to the Chief Justice.

All state court coronavirus emergency orders and advisories are linked on the Florida Supreme Court’s website: https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/Emergency 

(UPDATED 7/14/2021) Neither masks nor social distancing are required in courtrooms during in-person proceedings in Pinellas and Pasco counties.

That is according to an administrative order signed by Anthony Rondolino, chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, June 16. Judge Rondolino’s order came 12 days after Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady instructed all 20 chief judges in the state to lift restrictions as early as June 21 and no later than Aug. 2.

Rondolino's order does not prevent participants and observers from wearing masks; the choice is up to the person in the courtroom. Additionally, presiding judges will consider requests from participants who seek social-distancing.

Additionally, all types of hearings may be conducted in-person. During the pandemic, many types were heard remotely, either through teleconferencing, video-conferencing, or a combination of the two. If a participant has received a notice to the effect his or her case will be heard remotely on or after June 21, that order stands.

Also, judges and quasi-judicial officers may continue to conduct remote hearings if they choose to do so. There are exceptions, however, such as criminal trials with an in-custody defendant.

Read Chief Justice Canady’s entire June 4 administrative order.

(UPDATED 2/10/2021) With  COVID-19 data trending in a positive direction, Sixth Judicial Circuit Court Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino modified the sixth circuit's operational plan as it affects Pasco County. As of March 15, criminal jury trials will resume in Pasco County.  

Among other factors taken into consideration, the weekly positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in Pasco declined from 9.6 percent for the period from Jan. 17 to Jan. 23 to 7.5 percent for the period from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6. Similarly, the number of new cases declined from 212 to 146 over the two same periods. Civil jury trials in Pasco County, however, will remain suspended until further notice.

(UPDATED 12/30/2020) Jury trials in Pasco County are suspended until pandemic conditions improve, the result of a recent surge in positive #COVID19 tests locally.
The decision, from
Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino, extends his original announcement Dec. 9 that suspended jury trials through the end of 2020. No juries will be impaneled in either of the two courthouses in Pasco; no witnesses expected to testify will be required to go to those facilities.
Trials continue in Pinellas County, for now.
The original decision came after a Dec. 8 review of recent COVID-19 data in Pasco by the judge, Trial Court Administrator Gay Inskeep, and Court Counsel Jennifer Parker. Citing data from the Office of State Court Administration and the Florida Department of Health, Chief Judge Rondolino concluded conditions do not support a return to jury trials in Pasco. 
In early December, Pasco’s positivity rate of those tested topped 10 percent, a threshold that requires any chief judge in the state to consider changing his or her court operational plan, which the judge did.

Judge Rondolino notes Pasco has not had two weeks of declining positive test results since before Thanksgiving -- the positivity rate remains close to 10% -- and adds that health authorities have forecast an additional bump in coronavirus cases followingtravel and gatherings associated with the the December holidays.
Additionally, hospitalizations and emergency department visits also have increased.
All jury trials had been put on hold across the state by the Florida Supreme Court in March. The Sixth Judicial Circuit transitioned to Phase 2 in September and started jury trials in October.

Because the lead time between summoning and reporting is three weeks, our Office will continue to send out juror summonses and issue waivers as the situation dictates. Citizens summoned for jury service are encouraged to follow the registration directions on their notice, all the while staying alert for developments at the Pasco courthouses.

(UPDATED 12/30/2020) The use of face shields in lieu of face masks in Florida courthouses is no longer permitted under an amendment to pandemic-related operations announced Tuesday by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady.

Other modifications in Amendment 6 to AOSC20-32, COVID-19 Public Health and Safety Precautions for Operational Phase Transitions, include an expansion on the types of permissible face coverings to include clear face masks and cloth face masks that have clear plastic panels. 

Additionally, language that requires face masks to cover the nose and mouth was modified to expressly clarify that it applies to all types of face masks, as well as to add language specifying how all such face masks should fit on each individual.


Read Chief Justice Canady's complete Amendment 6.
 


(UPDATED 12/10/2020) Jury trials in Pasco County are suspended through at least the end of 2020, the result of a recent surge in positive #COVID19 tests locally.

The decision, from
Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino, is effective immediately: As of Dec. 9, jury trials will be temporarily suspended in Pasco County. No juries will be impaneled in either of the two courthouses in Pasco; no witnesses expected to testify will be required to go to those facilities.
Trials continue in Pinellas County, for now.
The decision came after a Dec. 8 review of recent COVID-19 data in Pasco by the judge, Trial Court Administrator Gay Inskeep, and Court Counsel Jennifer Parker.
Pasco’s positivity rate of those tested topped 10 percent, a threshold that requires any chief judge in the state to consider changing his or her court operational plan, which the judge has done.
Additionally, hospitalizations and emergency department visits also have increased.
The suspension of trials in Pasco County is effective until at least Jan. 4, 2021, and may continue if circumstances do not improve.

(UPDATED November 3, 2020) Under direction of state Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady, Florida Courts are pursuing a safe-steps return to more traditional operations. Sixth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino recently instructed courts in Pasco and Pinellas Counties to begin preparations for Phase 2 functions, clearing the path toward restarting trials with in-person jurors.

A modest schedule of trials is on the calendars at the courthouses in east and west Pasco beginning this week. Accordingly, the Office of Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller has issued its first summonses for prospective jurors since COVID-19 concerns suspended trials in March. Provisions to follow CDC guidelines are in place and will be strictly enforced.

(UPDATED June 16, 2020) Jury trials in Florida have been suspended until July 26 in an administrative order issued by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Cannady June 16. Citizens summoned during this period need not report; their jury commitment will be considered fulfilled for a calendar year.

(UPDATED 9, 2020) Jury trials in Florida have been suspended until July 17 in an emergency order issued by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Cannady June 8. Also affected: grand jury proceedings. The statewide panel investigating school violence in Florida is suspended through July 26.

A second new amended order governs an ongoing remote civil jury trial pilot program. It requires trial-court circuits participating in the pilot program to report findings and recommendations by October 2.

Additionally, Chief Justice Canady ordered writs of possession postponed through June 30. This matches Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent order blocking law enforcement from serving possession summons through the end of June.

(UPDATED May 4, 2020) Jury trials in Florida have been suspended until July 2 in an emergency order issued May 4. 

Acting on the recommendations of a statewide Court Continuity Workgroup, Chief Justice Charles Canady’s order also increases the list of proceedings state courts will accomplish by remote technology during the coronavirus pandemic.

Future extensions will be considered if needed.

(UPDATED 4/6/2020) Florida’s Chief Justice Charles Canady issued an emergency order April 6 suspending jury trials in Florida and extending other state legal deadlines through the end of May because of the COVID-19 public health emergency. This action lengthens a prior order that had set the ending date for emergency pandemic court procedures at mid-April.

The April 6 order combines provisions of several previous administrative orders into a single document. It emphasizes the need for courts to continue applying social distancing and to use remote technology to help keep people safe while also honoring legal requirements. Read more about the order.

(UPDATED 3/31/2020) To reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus at in-person court proceedings, Florida Chief Justice Charles Canady suspended speedy trial deadlines in noncriminal traffic infraction cases via a March 30 administrative order. Under the order, speedy trial deadlines for traffic infractions will be suspended at least through Monday, April 20, subject to further extensions required by the public health emergency. However, Florida judges also are allowed to conduct traffic infraction cases during the emergency using remote electronic means if possible.

(UPDATED 3/31/2020) Health-related limitations have been imposed on court-ordered child and family visitation through April 17 for children under the protective supervision of the Department of Children and Families, per Florida Chief Justice Charles Canady’s March 27 administrative order.

Under the order, child and family visitation under circuit court orders entered under Chapter 39 of the Florida Statutes will be conducted by video or other electronic means unless all parties agree that in-person visitation does not pose a health threat. If video visitation is not possible, telephone visitation will be used. The order applies to parent-child visitation, sibling visitation, and visitation between children and other family members and nonrelatives.

(UPDATED 3/27/2020) Noting that setting bond essentially would nullify the intent of COVID-19 emergency provisions, Sixth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino ordered bond suspended for violations of quarantine or isolation constraints.

(UPDATED 3/24/2020) The Florida Supreme Court has extended suspension of grand jury proceedings and jury selection through April 17. If you have recently received a jury summons, you do NOT need to report for service. Your jury service is considered fulfilled for one year. Read the complete order, which includes a broad array of emergency directives. Chief Justice Charles Canady elaborates and explains on video.

The Court intends to minimize the number of people in the courthouses as provided by the latest Supreme Court and Sixth Judicial Circuit Court Administrative Orders by implementing the following measures where possible:

  • Focus on “mission critical” cases only.
  • Civil cases will be conducted electronically and by telephone.
  • Criminal cases will be conducted by video.
  • Jury trials are suspended until further notice.

More information can be found on the following websites:

To assist with over-the-phone access to court services, you have the following options via our Courts Call Center:

  • Get answers to court-related questions on Criminal, Jury, Traffic, Civil, Probate, Guardianship, Mental Health, and Child Support cases.
  • Request copies or certified copies of court records.
  • Make debit or credit card payments for copies, record searches, traffic infractions, court fines, court costs, escrow deposit payments, and filing fees for Civil and Probate.
  • Clear driver’s license suspensions upon payment.

Our Call Centers are populated by knowledgeable deputy clerks eager to serve and connect. Reach them at (352) 521-4542 or (727) 847-8031 and choose the appropriate option: (1) Criminal/Jury, (2) Traffic, (3) Civil, (4) Probate/Guardianship/Mental Health, (5) Child Support.

Legal Resource Centers

Our Legal Resource Centers are open. While the following examples and certain other actions must be completed in person, you will spend less time in our office by obtaining the forms online, printing them, and filling them out prior to your arrival:

  • Domestic violence injunctions
  • Baker Acts
  • Marchman Acts
  • Child support
  • Dissolution of marriage
  • Landlord/Tenant action
  • View the complete list

Official Records

(UPDATED March 28, 2021) Mere days before its moratorium was set to expire, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) extended its moratorium on COVID-19-related evictions.

From CNBC

"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation's public health," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. "Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19."
The eviction ban was scheduled to expire in two days, and advocates warned of a spike in evictions without an extension.
Around 20% of adult renters said they didn't pay last month's rent, according to a survey published in March by the Census Bureau. Closer to 33% of Black renters reported the same.
Likely informing the health agency's decision to extend the ban for three months is the fact that mass evictions could undermine the country's attempts to get the coronavirus pandemic under control. That's because many displaced people double up with family members or friends or are forced to turn to crowded shelters.
During the pandemic, 43 states and the District of Columbia temporarily prohibited evictions, some for as little as 10 weeks. Researchers found that allowing evictions to continue in these states caused as many as 433,700 excess cases of Covid-19 and 10,700 additional deaths in the U.S. between March and September, when the CDC ban went into effect nationwide.
"When you're looking at an infectious disease like Covid-19, evictions can have an impact not only on the health of evicted families, but also on the health of the broader community," said Kathryn Leifheit, one of the study's authors and a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
At least two federal judges have questioned the CDC's power to ban evictions. And property owners have criticized the policy and say landlords can't afford to continue housing people for free.
"Short-term policies like eviction moratoria leave renters accruing insurmountable debt and jeopardize the ability for rental housing providers to provide safe, affordable housing," said Bob Pinnegar, president of the National Apartment Association.
Housing experts said that it wouldn't have made sense to allow the eviction ban to expire before rental assistance goes out to people. Congress has now allocated more than $45 billion in aid for renters, but it could take a few months for the money to be disbursed.
The CDC's eviction ban applies to individuals who earn less than $99,000 a year and couples who make under $198,000. To qualify, renters also have to attest on a declaration to their landlord that they're unable to afford their rent and that being evicted could result in them doubling up with others or becoming homeless.


(UPDATED 4/3/2020) Evictions and foreclosures are suspended for 45 days in Florida in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the result of an order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Tampa Bay Times has details. Unaffected: Because they are not foreclosures or evictions, per se, tax-deed sales will go forward as scheduled. The next sale is set for April 23.

Additionally, our Office continues to receive and begin to process new applications for foreclosure, issuing them only after Gov. DeSantis ends the suspension.

Both locations are open and most services can be accessed online or over the phone. Due to Passport Services in Miami closing to the public as of March 19, expedited passport applications will not be accepted. The Clerk’s Office remains fully operational and will be accepting routine passport applications. However, the normal processing times for passports may be impacted. 

For questions related to official records, passports, marriage licenses, or tax deed sales, call (352) 521-4408 or (727) 847-8086.

Board Records

The Board of County Commissioners (BCC) has suspended board meetings and other official meetings through April 17. Certain information can be found online. Copy requests and some audio recordings (depending on size) may be sent electronically through email.

For questions related to board records, call (352) 521-4345.

Finance

The Finance Department remains open. Almost all services performed by the Finance Department can be accessed online

For questions related to Finance, call (352) 521-4566.