The city of Tampa has announced that it will start suspending and even revoking alcoholic beverage permits for businesses who continue to violate COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Businesses that are “repeat offenders” — meaning they have two or more citations already — now run the risk of losing their ability to serve alcoholic beverages.
The notices of intent to suspend or revoke the permits will go to both the business owner as well as the property owner. The city is authorized under city code to take action against alcoholic beverage permittees and owners of property from which alcoholic beverages are sold and/or consumed.
This is the latest in the city’s crack down on businesses disobeying COVID-19 ordinances, especially the county-wide mask mandate and strict social distancing rules.
The city has been active in issuing citations by code enforcement officers and the Tampa Police Department.
“Our goal from day one of the pandemic has been to protect the health and lives of our residents while taking steps to keep businesses open and operating in the safest possible way,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor in a news release.
The county also recently expanded rules on businesses to crack down on the rise of COVID-19 cases. Castor also highlighted the Lift Up Local initiative, which allows businesses to expand their outdoor seating capacity during the pandemic. The initiative has been extended until April 4, 2021.
In order to encourage businesses to operate responsibly, the city has also launched the Safe & Sound initiative, which partners with local business owners who can take a self-assessment survey and comply with standards in order to earn a sticker they can display to alert consumers.
“Over the last several months, we have erred on the side of education and encouragement while relying heavily on the responsibility of our residents to help pull us out of this pandemic and come back stronger than ever,” Castor said. And while the vast majority of our businesses and residents are acting responsibly, we can’t allow a few bad actors to compromise and lengthen the recovery efforts for an entire community.”