Osceola County sheriff upping patrols to break up ‘COVID-19 parties’ in local subdivisions

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Osceola County deputies are planning to up patrols to break up so-called COVID-19 parties, which the sheriff said are gatherings at a house party to either plan to catch the virus or not care if they do.

Sheriff Russ Gibson said the parties have been happening in three subdivisions in the west side of the county.

He said Central Florida residents are renting homes in the neighborhoods for a night or two and having large groups over for house parties.

“Coronavirus

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Deputies shared aerial helicopter footage of one of the recent parties.

But Gibson said there are limits to what deputies can do since the hosts and attendees are not specifically breaking a law.

“These are recommendations by the CDC and that’s what we’re going by, but they’re not violating the law,” Gibson said. “There is no law.”

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Gibson said he may be presenting plans to change that to county attorneys and the board of county commissioners to try to change that.

“We don’t have the proper potential ordinances to take action,” he said.

Gibson said his department is planning for increased patrols this weekend when the majority of the parties have happened in the past.

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“We’re going to have extra patrols out there, especially when we know these parties are going on tonight, tomorrow night. Generally speaking, they’re on the weekends,” he said.

Stay tuned to Channel 9 for updates.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.