Tampa Bay area bar employees protest, demand to go back to work

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CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Protesters on both sides of Tampa Bay came out in force on Wednesday to demand that bars be allowed to reopen.

In Clearwater, protesters lined Court Street and held signs, saying they want to go back to work.


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  • Florida is reporting 85,926 cases and 3,061 deaths
  • Florida in Phase Two of reopening
  • Cases have spiked in past week, Gov. DeSantis says due to increased testing

Bill Ackerman owns the Quick Red Fox bar in Clearwater and says he can’t understand why other businesses are allowed to be open and bars remain closed.

“The employees need to work. The unemployment has failed with certain people. We’re not getting no place with it,” said Ackerman.

He said bars are taking the needed safety precautions and employees should be allowed to go back to work.

“All we are trying to do is make a living. We know how to social distance, we know, we got the sanitizer, we got the masks,” said Ackerman.

In Tampa, Don Kleinhanz owns the 2001 nightclub and said bars can follow the same safety guidelines as other businesses.

“It just of sort of feels like the bars and the clubs and the nightclubs are being left behind in the thought process to reopen,” said Kleinhanz.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said she doesn’t think it’s time for the bar industry to reopen.

“Bars are not safe to reopen. I mean by their very nature they are places to go and socialize, to have conversations, to drink alcoholic beverages. There is usually loud music which means you have to talk louder in close proximity. If there were a way we could open up bars in an outdoor setting, that would work,” said Castor.

Tampa’s mayor says she just doesn’t see a safe way at this time to reopen most bars.

“If we open too quickly and get knocked back further than the point we started, it’s not going to be good for anyone,” said Castor.

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