TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The worry as Florida coronavirus cases go up is how business could go down at places like bars and restaurants.
“That’s an absolute fear,” said Adam Itzkowitz, co-owner of Cask, a restaurant on South Howard Avenue. “No restaurant owner wants to deal with the business closures again, but more importantly, they don’t want to deal with safety issues with their employees or customers alike.”
On Thursday, Tampa bar and restaurant owners got an email from the City of Tampa, reminding them of the rules as the state is in the midst of phase two re-opening.
“There was a lot of confusion as far as what the rules are and are not. Not everyone is up to speed on the localities of everything,” Itzkowitz said.
8 On Your side obtained a copy of that email, which says agents from the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco will visit bars and restaurants to make sure there is enough seating for customers. Patrons cannot stand or linger.
The email also addressed a recent surge of cases in people ages 25 to 34 in Hillsborough County.
“COVID-19 cases are once again rising here in Tampa, and what makes recent cases stand-out is the impact that this virus is having on people ages 25-34. While people under 65 have a lower fatality rate, younger generations make-up over 70 percent of recent hospitalizations and in many cases will face long-term health consequences as a result. Many workers and bar patrons are in this demographic group. Please urge your employees to get tested – CVS is offering free testing with a fast turnaround that I recently took myself,” the email said.
The city also provided a checklist for bar and restaurant owners in order to make sure things like social distancing and proper cleanliness are followed. Another checklist, also provided by the city, is geared toward patrons and is meant to be kept in public view.
It encourages social distancing and proper hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.
It comes as local bars and restaurants are trying to make a comeback in unprecedented times.
“What makes it tricky is in the restaurant business and in bars, is people are moving around a lot and the restrictions say they have to be in a seat, but it’s very difficult to control someone else,” said Itzkowitz, of Cask. “If someone has a drink in their hand, often times they want to get up and walk and go talk a friend and a bartender, and it’s that type of behavior that’s restricted.”