Tampa police tasked with making sure bars follow COVID-19 reopening guidelines

Tampa police officers are walking into pubs, taverns, and bars in SoHo and Ybor City, making sure business owners are complying with Governor Ron Desantis' COVID-19 phase 2 re-opening orders.

Officers are passing out forms with all the regulations for every type of business. For bars, taverns, and pubs, it says:

  • 50% capacity indoors;
  • outdoor seating-full capacity with social distancing;
  • patrons must be seated to be served (nightclubs with no seating remain closed).

"We understand the cabin fever, we want these businesses to continue growing, so it's going to be a balance so we're going to do our best to educate people and hopefully they comply, and everybody is safe in this community," said Tampa Police Lt. Martha Murillo.

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The officers will inspect businesses periodically. TPD says officers patrol the SoHo area heavily Thursday through Saturday.

If a business doesn't comply with the phase 2 orders, TPD can issue a warning then write up a report. The agency will not be giving citations, but if a business racks up several reports, they'll be forwarded to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, who has the authority to pull a business license.