HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Bar owners across the Tampa Bay area are preparing for Super Bowl weekend and the festivities that come with it. The financial impact of the pandemic is top of mind for some owners who say their focus for the weekend is protecting patrons from getting the Coronavirus by enforcing social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitizing.

Bar owners all over Tampa say the pandemic caused them to lose not only money, but regular customers who had become like family. Owner of Tampa Tap Room in Greater Carrollwood area, Norman Haney says, “We were down by about 25 percent for the year,” in terms of revenue. In his bar, Haney says groups will notice about three seats will be cordoned off between groups to allow for social distancing.

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General Manager of Pete’s Place South on Henderson Boulevard in South Tampa, Chuck Calhoun says the pandemic definitely has taken a toll on his business. “We are hoping Super Bowl really brings in some money for us. When you take the momentum out of something that’s working and been working for so long, and you take all of the customers away, trying to get people to return back again is really hard,” said Calhoun.

Now, almost a year later, business is slowly beginning to pick back up. Haney said, “Last weekend for the first time, we started seeing some people we hadn’t seen in about five or six months.” With the Super Bowl descending on Tampa in two weeks, bar owners hope to pour a lot more drinks. Calhoun is banking that the promise of live music will entice more patrons to step through his doorway.

But with more money, comes increased sanitation measures to keep people safe. Calhoun says Pete’s Place South is prepared, “We have disinfecting wipes out. After each customer comes, we disinfect each seat. We wipe the bar. We do our own cleaning.”

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Adhering to the executive order in Hillsborough County, both Pete’s Place South and Tampa Tap Room will be requiring everyone wear masks inside and social distancing will be enforced. Calhoun, says he plans to limit his bar to half capacity Super Bowl weekend and take temperatures of patrons as they enter.

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While the threat of a surging pandemic prevents Super Bowl in Tampa prevents the traditional economic lift of years past, bar owners ensure they are taking every precaution to deliver a safe and exciting game day.

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