TAMPA, Fla. — Not only was it the first game of the Stanley Cup Final for the Bolts, but it is also the first weekend that bars are allowed to be open since June.
While struggling bar owners welcome both, they also recognize it’s never been more important to keep patrons and staff safe.
“Yeah, it's been a great week for you know, in local sports, with the Lightning you know, clinching and getting into the Stanley Cup, and the Rays clinching playoffs, and then the announcement of bars being able to go to 50 percent, it's been a great week for hospitality," said Stephen Schrutt, the owner of multiple bars across Tampa Bay including Park and Rec St. Pete and Tampa and No Vacancy.
For Hattrick’s, a go-to Lightning bar, they have adjusted their space to make maintaining less than 50 percent capacity easy.
“We took out tables and chairs and spread everything out accordingly. So that way, when all the tables are full, we're at capacity," said general manager David Mangione.
At Park and Rec Tampa, masks are sold at the door for anyone who forgot to bring one with them.
The Tampa Police Department is monitoring popular areas like Ybor City and SoHo to make sure bars are abiding by the new policies.
In a statement to 10 Tampa Bay, Chief Brian Dugan said in part, "Bars are open under some restriction and we must all be vigilant during this pandemic. Our officers will do this by continuing to work with business owners to ensure they understand and follow the governor’s executive orders so we can all safely see the Stanley Cup come back to Tampa."
At this point, both the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Tampa Police Department have said no bars have been cited for violations since reopening Monday.
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