Just a few hours after Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced that the City of Tampa would begin cracking down on local businesses that flout local social distancing and mask restrictions, four bars have already been fined.
Last night, inspectors visited a total of 65 bars and restaurants, said City of Tampa Marketing and Communications Director Ashley Bauman to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. MacDinton's in South Tampa, and Ybor City's King Corona, Mojito House and The Purple Heart, all received $150 fines.
Bauman also said that along with bars and restaurants, other local business will continue to be monitored over the next few days.
During a Thursday meeting with Tampa Bay leaders, Castor stated that the City of Tampa would send out officials that evening to enforce the city’s mask mandates and social distancing regulations at local businesses, as well the recent Hillsborough County ordinance banning packed dance floors, and loitering at bars and restaurants.
While individuals can’t be fined, businesses that don’t enforce these rules can receive a civil citation and a fine up to $500, or a second degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500.
“We have been warning those bad actors in the City of Tampa since March,” said Castor during the meeting, adding that inspectors were also out last weekend providing warnings and necessary signage.
“We are in an incredible spike right at this moment,” Castor added. “Also, COVID-19 doesn't know where a city ends, and a county begins. And so that's even more of a reason for us all to come together and make sure that we can prevent this. We have got to continue wearing masks, we won't have the entire community vaccinated for a number of months.”
Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties now have similar COVID-19 restrictions in place. Both counties require masks to be worn indoors at businesses, and only allow patrons to remove masks when seated. Also, both counties now ban congregating on dance floors.
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