Add 7th+Grove to a list of Tampa restaurants being criticized for packing itself will largely mask-less crowds at a time when restaurants—and bars that serve food—are supposed to operate at 50% capacity and in accordance with local mask mandates.
Video posted on Sunday from the Ybor City hotspot (and one of the Bay area’s best new restaurants) shows its adjacent events hall and second bar, which is next door to 7th+Grove’s traditional dining room, inarguably packed.
The clips come a week after Ducky’s in downtown Tampa came under scrutiny for having an electric slide-worthy brunch. The 7th+Grove videos also come less than a week after attorneys for the City of Tampa sent businesses—whether they were violating mandates or not—a letter warning that restaurants acting like bars and violating COVID-19 rules will face fines, and a possible loss of liquor license.
“You may be getting that short term profit, but you're doing long term harm to our entire community,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in addressing the letter, which details how business owners and operators could face second-degree misdemeanors, and an up to $500 fine plus 60 days in jail, if violations are found during inspections.
According to more video posted on social media, patrons in 7th+Grove’s event space had mostly adhered to social distancing regulations throughout the day until clips from later on in the evening started to surface (the video that’s being circulated online came from in between 8 p.m.-9 p.m.).
A rep for 7th+Grove told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that they have seen the video and that the restaurant is "taking direct action with our security team and internal staff to ensure they feel empowered to enforce mandatory mask requirements at 7th + Grove."
"7th + Grove prioritizes the health and safety of our staff and patrons at all times. We are currently operating at a 50% capacity rate within our lounge and dining room. Masks are required to enter and temperature checks are done for all staff and guests upon entry," 7th + Grove Hospitality Group wrote in a statement to CL. "Over the past few weeks we have reconfigured our dining room and lounge to include clear partitions, increased our deep cleaning sanitation services and our staff makes announcements in intervals for patrons to wear their masks when away from their dining table and engaging throughout the facility."
Two weeks ago, ER physician Dr. Jason Wilson told the Hillsborough EPG that the known science of coronavirus “is really starting to coalesce around the idea of us being together in close proximity in a normal social type environment where there might be touching a lot of talking... intimacy, all those kinds of things I think are the things that are becoming the real way the virus spreads around.”
UPDATED: 07/20/20 12:40 p.m. Updated to include comments from 7th + Grove Hospitality Group.
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