Ducky's Sports Lounge owner apologizes after restaurant draws 'out-of-hand' brunch crowd

Ducky's now faces administrative complaint
Posted at 10:32 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 00:24:22-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa Bay area restaurant owner is speaking out after videos surfaced on social media showing a dancing crowd largely ignoring social distancing guidelines.

Advertisements marketed a 1990s-themed brunch at Ducky's Sports Lounge on Sunday. Videos posted on various Instagram accounts showed customers dancing to a DJ, some of them on tables and chairs.

"I apologize," said owner Gio Cruz. "It got overwhelming."

Cruz admits the crowd got out of hand Sunday afternoon and says he has since met with Tampa Code Enforcement.

On Tuesday, Cruz showed ABC Action News the measures in place to keep customers socially-distant and sanitized while dining in the restaurant, located on West Kennedy Boulevard.

"I’m going to do my best and my staff is going to do their best and we’ve had meetings to rectify the situation," said Cruz.

ABC Action News has confirmed with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation that there is now an open administrative complaint against the restaurant's alcohol license.

According to the City of Tampa, there have been 32 complaints filed against bars and restaurants for failing to follow mandates such as wearing a mask, enforcing social distance, and maintaining 50% occupancy.

Total complaints465150
Retail Business294134
Mask complaints424435
6’ distance1513
50% occupancy322

"We’re still not seeing as much enforcement as we should for the restaurants and so we know for us to get back open again, we have to get these numbers down. We have to see these numbers go down," said Tom DeGeorge, owner of the Crowbar Ybor City.

The music venue, which hosted more than 300 live shows annually, has been closed for four months due to the pandemic.

With bars still banned from serving customers on-property, DeGeorge is calling on all restaurant owners to play by the rules and operate responsibly.

"I know that restaurants, they’re trying to hit their margins but they have a fighting chance right now," said DeGeorge. "I don’t even have a fighting chance."