UPDATE: The Tampa mayor’s office clarified the mayor’s claims about police in a statement to Newsweek, noting that Castor was speaking about identifying vandals, not maskless revelers.
“Tampa Police are working to identify the people who destroyed street signs and other property during Super Bowl celebrations, not people who failed to wear a mask,” the city official told the outlet, adding that “the City of Tampa did not issue citations to individuals who failed to wear a mask.”
Tampa, Florida, Mayor Jane Castor vowed, late Monday, to identify and prosecute maskless revelers who took to the streets to celebrate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl win Sunday night.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, Castor claimed that Tampa Bay police would use video footage captured of the celebration to “identify” fans who flouted the city’s mask mandate and “handle” the rule-breaking.
“We had tens of thousands of people all over the city, downtown, out by the stadium and very very few incidents,” Castor began. “So I’m proud of our community but those few bad actors will be identified and the Tampa Police Department will handle it.”
She went on to note that the “majority of the individuals that I saw out and about enjoying the festivities associated with the Super Bowl were complying” with the city’s outdoor mask mandate.
Those that were not, though, could expect a fine if they appear on video — action taken, the mayor suggested, for their own good.
“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,” Castor said.
Castor did sign an executive order ahead of Super Bowl festivities requiring masks to be worn both inside and outside where social distancing was not possible, but it’s not clear if Tampa law enforcement has the ability to enforce that order.
“In hopes of curbing so-called superspreader events, Castor had signed a largely voluntary executive order requiring people wear face coverings during the Super Bowl festivities, even while they’re outdoors,” the Orlando Sentinel reported last week. “She pleaded with people to celebrate safely, noting the city could issue fines of up to $500.”
The city even handed out more than 200,000 masks to make sure no one was without a face covering.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed his own executive order last year making “it difficult for local governments to enforce mask policies because it prohibits them from fining people who don’t comply,” the Sentinel continued.
It’s also not clear how many people can be identified on footage of the post-game celebrations posted to social media. The crowds celebrating the Buccaneers’ win were closely packed into streets and bars surrounding the stadium.
There was at least one readily identifiable individual captured in a photo not wearing a mask at the Super Bowl, though: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.
“Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says she will use the power of the government to hunt down anyone not wearing a mask after the Super Bowl,” sports commentator Dave Hookstead noted on Twitter. “Also, here’s a photo of the Tampa mayor maskless at a sporting event. The hypocrisy never ends!”
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says she will use the power of the government to hunt down anyone not wearing a mask after the Super Bowl.
Also, here’s a photo of the Tampa mayor maskless at a sporting event. The hypocrisy never ends! pic.twitter.com/sE9oNnPs3i
— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) February 9, 2021
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was also pictured at the game not wearing a mask. When confronted about the photo, DeSantis explained, simply, that he could not drink his beer with his mask on, though he did have one.