TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Three Tampa bars and clubs will have their alcohol sales suspended after violating the city’s mask mandate.
Attorneys for the five businesses, went before the city council for public hearings on Monday.
The businesses were cited after code enforcement visits in December and January.
Before the hearing, the city and the various establishments agreed on settlements, which included implementing various safety measures and/or a suspension.
City council members voted on Monday to suspend alcohol sales for Club Skye and MacDinton’s Irish Pub, for three days.
Club Sky agreed to a suspension of three days, starting March 9.
MacDinton’s agreed to a suspension of three days, starting March 18.
Club Prana in Ybor agreed to a suspension of seven days, after several violations. The suspension will start April 5.
Club Prana Attorney Luke Lirot attempted to get the suspension reduced, but it was ultimately upheld.
“It’s brutal because they were shut down from March 17 to September 25 of last year, which is devastating. They didn’t make a penny. To have this layered on is just agony,” said Lirot.
After the decision, Lirot said he felt like Ybor was being targeted. “Ybor got more attention than any other locations so needless to say it would appear that they’re now the focal point of all of these enforcement efforts,” he said.
According to the city’s zoning administrator, the businesses repeatedly violated local COVID-19 executive orders and/or did not comply with the city’s mask ordinance. They all received warnings and at least two citations.
Lirot said the mask mandate has been tough to enforce because of the size of Club Prana. “It’s impossible because when code enforcement comes in, they’re lying in wait to see someone remove their mask, photographs taken, and then the allegation is my client did nothing. He’s ejected over 120 people over the last few weeks and even been sent letters threatening to sue us for kicking people out,” said Lirot.
Two establishments were able to avoid suspensions.
Since the Ritz Ybor’s violations involved social distancing, not the city’s mask ordinance, the business was not penalized with a suspension.
King Corona Cigars also avoided any suspension after arguing that their violation was less serious, and after implementing safety measures.
The maximum penalty is a 30-day suspension.