TAMPA - Several restaurants and bars have gone before Tampa's city council under allegations of COVID safety violations.

What You Need To Know

  • Restaurant/bar owners address Council on COVID safety violations

  • 7th + Grove found in violation, but because of corrective measures it didn't have license suspended

  • 3 other businesses will learn their fate next month

  • More Coronavirus headlines

Monday’s City Council meeting was heated – with four businesses threatened with liquor license suspensions. Three of those bars will learn their fate next month.

The City Council determined the owners of another bar, 7th + Grove, were in violation but it did not have its liquor license suspended.

The owners of the Ybor City bar appeared before the council Monday. Code enforcement showed photos from December and January of a packed bar with employees and patrons not wearing masks.

City Council members on Monday were shown this photo of 7th + Grove.

Co-owner Dr. Jamaris Glenn admitted to council members that they failed to do social distancing but said the punishment could put him out of business.  

“Suspending our liquor license would absolutely devastate our business and impact our employees and vendors,” Glenn said. “Not only is our alcohol license at risk, we are now in jeopardy of losing our business altogether because our landlord fears his wet zoning license is at risk."

Outside City Hall, about a half dozen people carried signs protesting the city's crackdown on businesses that repeatedly violate coronavirus restrictions.

“For the City Council to specifically target small businesses just because they don't want to police their customers for not wearing a mask is unacceptable,” said protester Vanessa Vasquez.

Back inside the hearing, Glenn pleaded with council members for leniency.

“We are asking for grace today and a continuing partnership with the city to provide the safest environment for our staff and patrons during this trying time,” he said.

Assistant City Attorney Susan Johnson-Velez said there was clearly a violation but noted the bar has been in compliance ever since.​ She also said the bar provided a diagram of corrective measures they're taking.

Council members found the business was in violation, but because of their corrective measures the bar's liquor license was not suspended. The owners declined an interview request.

The other businesses had their hearings continued until next month.