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Tampa Police check in on SoHo businesses with bars back open

Posted at 11:41 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 03:46:46-04

TAMPA, Fla. — With bars, breweries, and pubs getting the green light to reopen in Florida, Tampa Police Department officers spent Wednesday night reminding owners and staff to follow state and local guidelines.

ABC Action News walked with a pair of TPD officers who went business to business along South Howard Avenue in Tampa.

“We are happy businesses are open, we want them to be open but we want them to do it safely,” said Lt. Martha Murillo.

State leaders activated Phase 2 of reopening Monday, allowing bars, pubs and taverns to reopen at 50 percent capacity indoors. Customers have to be seated to be served.

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Bar-top seating is allowed and outdoor dining can operate at full-capacity with social distancing.

Bars and restaurants along the popular SoHo district have expanded seating outdoors by incorporating dining tents on their property.

“A lot of these places have great outside seating,” said Lt. Murillo. “We understating the cabin fever, we want these businesses to continue growing so it’s going to be a balance.”

On Wednesday, Tampa Police said the agency will keep officers stationed in SoHo and Ybor City on weekends to monitor crowds.

“I’ve seen everyone wear their masks when they walk in, just take it off when you’re at your table,” said customer Tanner Suarez. “People want to have a few beers, they should be able to do that.”

Any violations will be reported to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.