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Tampa mayor threatens maskless Super Bowl revellers with police, gets reminded of her own aversion to face coverings

Tampa mayor threatens maskless Super Bowl revellers with police, gets reminded of her own aversion to face coverings
The mayor of Tampa has expressed her frustration with Super Bowl fans who broke her executive order to wear masks during and after the game. Maskless “bad actors” will be “identified” by the city police, she warned.

Mayor Jane Castor signed the order two weeks ago ahead of the face-off between the Chiefs and the Buccaneers in the Raymond James Stadium, mandating masks for all those attending. In place until February 13, the order covered the area outside the arena itself as well as tourist hotspots like the historic district of Ybor City. The NFL demanded that masks be worn by all 22,000 people who were allowed to watch the game in person.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday morning, a masked Castor said it was “a little frustrating” that some people didn't follow her instructions. “I am proud to say that the majority of individuals that I saw out and about enjoying the festivities associated with the Super Bowl were complying,” she said.

“But those few bad actors will be identified, and the Tampa Police Department will handle it,” the former police chief added.

The reproach didn't sit well with some commenters, who were quick to remind others that Castor herself is hardly an example of someone rigidly following the recommendation to wear a mask in public places. An older image showing Castor without a mask apparently attending a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game was shared by many. Other alleged examples popped up, too.

Others questioned her assertion that only a small minority broke her order during the celebrations of the Tampa home team's win, citing “overwhelming” photo and video evidence to the contrary. The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County even asked for other agencies’ help in tracing Covid-19 cases specifically linked to the game, which the local media presume will establish whether the Super Bowl became a super spreader event.

Under Castor's order, maskless fans are facing a fine of up to $500. This notably goes in defiance of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who as part of his reopening strategy prohibited localities from collecting fines from individuals not wearing masks. The governor may be one of the “bad actors” that the mayor spoke about. He reportedly decided that a face cover would be clashing with beer consumption.

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