Tampa bars, restaurants told to close each night by 10 p.m, Ybor City business owners worried

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Lucien Chalfoun has managed bars and restaurants all over the world. He’s been in the industry, in fact, for more than two decades.

Currently, he’s the general manager at Acropolis Ybor, a landmark location in Tampa where busy crowds are seen daily, both locals and tourists alike.

These days, however, things are different.

Lucien says he’s never seen anything quite like this. The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything.

“Everybody feels the same,” Lucien told 8 on Your Side. “We want to see what’s next, how things go from here.”

The married, father-of-two is worried about two big things as he runs this popular spot in Ybor City. He wants to make sure his customers, employees are family are all safe during this pandemic, and he’s also concerned about his bottom line.

On Monday night, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced that the city would now be making big changes when it comes to business hours for bars and restaurants.

Castor is ordering all restaurants and bars to cut max capacity by 50% starting Tuesday at noon. Castor also says all bars will be closed at 10 p.m. until further notice.

“We want everyone to be as safe as possible. That includes keeping crowds to a minimum,” said the mayor. She also announced that businesses must now ensure that the seating area is at 50-percent of maximum capacity.

Lucien, along with other business owners in Ybor City, understands the importance of keeping the public safe, especially since this disease is highly contagious and spreading like wildfire all over the world. The general manager says his employees are incorporating additional cleaning and disinfecting measures into daily protocol, describing the process as “crucial” for the health and welfare of “guests and employees.”

“Everybody feels the same. We’re all worried and we’re waiting to see how it’s going to unfold,” said Lucien. “We just want everyone we know, our guests, our families, our employees, to be safe and healthy.”

Mayor Castor is urging all citizens to text 888-777 to receive the latest updates from the city during this pandemic.

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