Super Bowl crowds, dance parties spark concerns of superspreader events in Tampa

Posted at 6:32 AM, Feb 08, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Videos showing Super Bowl parties and dancing crowds are sparking superspreader concerns in Tampa.

Thousands of people, many not wearing masks, lined 7th Avenue in Ybor City all weekend leading up to Super Bowl LV in Tampa on Sunday evening.

“It was an ocean of people,” said Alex Barbosa, who lives on the historic block.

Much of the crowd, business owners say, stemmed from Qvesoir, a nightclub venue located at 1920 E. 7th Avenue.

A public post on Instagram promoted rapper Kodak Black as a performer Friday night. Former President Donald Trump pardoned Kodak Black in his final hours of office.

Both the business and party promoter, Beau Williams Ent., did not return a request for comment Saturday.

Sources say that Qvesoir was shut down on Saturday. Court documents detail an eviction battle underway between the business and property owner.

“You’ve got venues that are operating at 100% capacity, stuffing their places,” said Tom DeGeorge, owner of The Crowbar in Ybor City. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see a line that’s two blocks long and know there’s going to a dance floor inside. Shut them down.”

On Rocky Point, videos show packed crowds dancing at WTR Tampa as famed DJ Steve Aoki performed Friday night.

Instagram promotions show Migos and Diplo as featured guests Saturday at the poolside bar.

Businesses are banned from operating a dance floor, according to a countywide ordinance.

"In partnership with Wellness 4 Humanity, the Godfrey Hotel and Cabanas has installed wellness scanners at its WTR pool entrances. The scanners detect COVID-19, influenza and other infectious diseases including symptoms such as cough, fever, exhaustion, congestion, sweat gland activation, redness of eyes and headache," Godfrey Hotel and Cabanas said in a statement.

The City of Tampa has mandated that masks must be worn outside in several busy areas leading up to the Super Bowl. Both mandates have been blatantly ignored in places like Ybor City over Super Bowl weekend.

On Saturday, DeGeorge decided against opening his business following what he called a chaotic scene on Friday.

“(Tampa Mayor) Jane Castor, you got to do something,” DeGeorge said. “I can’t sugarcoat the problems we’re having right now. We need help. We need a plan; we need action, and we need the bad businesses shut down, so the rest of us don’t have to worry about our safety.”

Castor’s office did not respond to a request for comment or answer any questions sent to a spokesperson.

Tampa Police would not say what is being done to keep people safe in light of this weekend’s crowds.

“Scenes from Ybor last night and a few other clubs were incredibly disappointing," A spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department said in a statement. "The city spent the better part of a year educating residents on precautions due to the pandemic and have recently put a mask order in place for both the entertainment and event zones to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors to our great city.”

This story was originally published by Ryan Smith on WFTS in Tampa, Florida.