Tampa officials condemn weekend Super Bowl parties

The Super Bowl this weekend brought fanfare and celebrities to Tampa, Florida, to the discomfort of city officials.

Rapper 50 Cent and DJ Steve Aoki hosted their own parties, drawing many unmasked attendees in indoor settings. Aoki’s party took place at Tampa’s WTR Bar & Grill at The Godfrey Hotel, while 50 Cent’s was held inside a private hangar at Albert Whitted Airport.
There was also a Saturday night event at the WTR Bar & Grill, featuring Diplo and 50 Cent, and while the same safety measures were listed on the event site, the images were similar to Friday’s party. The WTR Bar & Grill did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Sunday.
“This isn’t how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl. It’s not safe or smart. It’s stupid,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted Saturday. “We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent.”
    The parties come as Florida, along with California, is seeing a rise in cases of the new Covid-19 variant, B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom. Nearly 700 cases of this more contagious variant have been found in 33 states, according to the CDC. Most are in Florida and California.
    The online flyer for Friday’s bash with DJ Steve Aoki boasted of daily cleaning and disinfecting “with electrostatic sprayers,” mandatory masks for guests and staff, as well as temperature checks, social distancing protocols and sanitizing stations.
    The event also drew the attention of the Tampa Police Department, which spoke out against the party in a statement to CNN.
    “Scenes from WTR last night and a few other clubs were incredibly disappointing,” TPD spokesperson Eddy Durkin told CNN.
    For close to a year, Durkin said the city educated 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.”
    “When the Governor lifted the capacity restrictions and opened bars, we turned to the tight-knit hospitality community to reopen safe & sound but there’s a level of personal responsibility that must be followed or risk getting shut down,” Durkin said in a statement.
      Posts on 50 Cent’s Instagram showed an ad for a Super Bowl watch party at another venue in Tampa for Sunday, and an event billed as “50 Cent’s Official Branson Stripper Bowl.”
      “Tonight it’s lit pull up!” 50 Cent wrote on the post.

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