4 more Tampa businesses could lose liquor license for violating mask ordinance

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Several Tampa businesses may lose their right to sell alcohol this week.

The city has already suspended alcohol sales at two businesses for coronavirus violations. Four more will go before city council for a hearing Monday.

Those businesses include 7th + Grove, The Ritz Ybor, Prana Ybor’s Premier Nitespot and Purple Heart Bar Longue and Grill. Each business is in Ybor City.

The city’s zoning administrator says these businesses repeatedly violated local COVID-19 executive orders by not complying with the city’s mask ordinance, to the point of getting warnings and a couple citations.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been steadfast in his determination to not allow local governments to penalize businesses violating coronavirus mandates.

Last month, DeSantis told reporters, “We will categorically not allow any local government to lock people down. We will not let any local government kick anybody out of their job. We will not allow any local government fine individual Floridians. We will not let any local government shut down schools. And we’re not gonna let any local government do those things.”

When questioned in January about DeSantis’ comments, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office told WFLA “We’re enforcing our code and their wet zone permit. It’s not the same. We’re also not fining a human.”

Last week, there were hearings for MacDinton’s SoHo, and Tangra Nightclub and Ybor Cigars Plus in Ybor City regarding alcohol sales.

In the end, the city suspended alcohol sales at Tangra Nightclub and Ybor Cigars Plus for three days, which was far fewer than the 30-day max.

The hearing for MacDinton’s SoHo was continued to the next month.

Attorney Luke Lirot, the lawyer for both Tangra and Ybor Cigars, said a 30-day suspension would have killed their businesses.

“A suspension for 30 days after the nine months suspension imposed by the governor… it’s a double whammy that virtually no one could survive,” Lirot said.

The public hearings for 7th + Grove, The Ritz Ybor, Prana Ybor’s Premier Nitespot and Purple Heart Bar Longue and Grill will be Monday at 9:00 a.m. at City Council Chambers City Hall.

City Council will consider the revocation or suspension of the sale of alcohol at each business.

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