TAMPA, Fla. -- The clock is ticking towards the start of the Republican National Convention and the invasion of more than 50,000 people, plus journalists from around the world and an estimated 15,000 protesters.
Police Chief Jane Castor has been busy talking about the city's plans with various groups, but she also sat down with 10 News Reporter Preston Rudie to discuss the five questions she's often asked about the upcoming event.
Question #1: How will traffic be affected?
The short answer, according to the chief, is to expect delays. "There will be some traffic delays, there will be roads that will be closed, so what we're asking people to do is just to plan ahead," Castor said. But she notes Tampa General Hospital will still be open and accessible, as will Davis Islands and even Harbour Island, although there will likely be some restrictions entering Harbour Island.
Question #2: Will downtown businesses be open?
Castor says they haven't advised any businesses to close and they haven't suggested any of them board up either. "We haven't spoken to anyone about boarding up businesses. There are a number of businesses that have inquired about fencing around their locations and that is factored into the clean zone ordinance."
Question #3: What is a Clean Zone?
"The clean zone, in essence, is a geographic area that there are certain sunset rules for during the convention time and these are things that prohibit any types of signs that could be used as weapons, any material that could be used as weapons."
Question #4: Will there really be 15,000 protestors?
Again the short answer is: it's very possible. "Now, we are quite certain that there will be individuals coming to Tampa to be disruptive, to break the law, and to possibly cause damage to our downtown area. Those individuals will be dealt with very swiftly."
Question #5: When will the security perimeter or footprint be set?
Castor says that's in the hands of the U.S. Secret Service, but adds that will probably be announced four to six weeks before then convention.