The Democrat Mayor of Tampa has said that the police will investigate and track down “bad actors” who didn’t wear masks while celebrating the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LV took place on Sunday in Tampa, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking the trophy home, beating the Kansas City Chiefs in a solid 31-19 victory. However, unlike previous Super Bowls, the most popular sporting event of the year was marred with a limited attendance at the stadium, due to the current coronavirus outbreak.
The Democrat Mayor of Tampa, Jane Castor, had issued a temporary two week mask mandate to cover specific outside areas in the city, in order to mitigate the spread of coronavirus during the Super Bowl celebrations. In the order, the city gave itself the power to issue $500 fines to anybody caught disobeying the mandate.
Many football fans decided to ignore the mandate however, with news reports noting that bars and entertainment areas were filled with maskless people. Volunteers from the City of Tampa Mayor’s Youth Corps were laughed at by some passers-by when they attemped to hand out masks, pointing out that they were outside.
In a press conference on Monday, Castor said that she was “proud to say that the majority of individuals [she] saw out and about enjoying the festivities associated with the Super Bowl were complying,” with the mask mandate, but that the police would be targeting anyone who refused to comply with the order:
We had tens of thousands of people all over the city; downtown, out by the stadium, Ybor City, down here in Channelside, and very, very few incidents. I’m proud of our community, but those few bad actors will be identified, and the Tampa Police department will handle it… There just has to be that level of personal responsibility. You can supply everyone with a mask, advise them of the science behind it, and expect that they are going to abide by the mask order.
However, the comments from Castor directly clash with a previous statement from Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. Chief Dugan told Reuters last week that he did not anticipate that anyone on his force would actually be enforcing the mask mandates, other than reminding people of their duty to socially distance. “We really don’t want to get into being the mask police,” Dugan had said.
Local orders which allow cities to issue fines had also been overridden last year by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose executive order prohibited local and city governments for doing so to anybody who refused to comply with a mask mandate.