Tampa Mayor Jane Castor on Monday referred to maskless Super Bowl revellers as “bad actors,” and vowed that they will be identified by law enforcement and dealt with.
In late January, the Democrat mayor extended the city’s mask mandate, requiring face coverings outdoors until Feb. 13. The ordinance was designed to show that Tampa “takes this pandemic seriously.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order last year, however, that effectively banned mask mandates because it prohibits local governments from fining people who don’t comply with the mandates.
Thousands of football fans were observed throughout the weekend defying Castor’s mask mandates ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.
— Luis Santana (@LuisSantana) February 7, 2021
During a press conference Monday, Castor, the first openly gay person to serve as Chief of Police of the Tampa Police Department, insisted emphatically that “simply wearing a mask dramatically reduces the spread of COVID-19.” The Democrat noted that most of the people she saw “out and about enjoying the festivities associated with the Super Bowl” were wearing masks.
Castor went on to boast that there were tens of thousands of tourists in the area for the Super Bowl, but “very few incidents.”
“I’m proud of our community but those few bad actors will be identified, and the Tampa Police Department will handle it, the mayor said. “There just has to be that level of personal responsibility,” she continued. “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.”
Some 200,000 masks were distributed ahead of the big game, the NY Post reported.
BREAKING: At a press conference Monday, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said that maskless fans at the Super Bowl will be "identified" by law enforcement and that police will "handle" the situation pic.twitter.com/S20Xv97jYJ
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 8, 2021
The chilling implications of Castor’s vow to “identify” non-compliant revelers were not lost on conservatives.
“If you think this impulse could never extend beyond masks, you haven’t been listening to the radical left lately,” said investigative journalist David Steinberg on Twitter.
“I guarantee you that, right now, some folks are scrolling through last night’s video to “help” her,” Steinberg added.
Police will have no trouble identifying at least two of the “bad actors.”
A video of Tampa Bay Quarterback Tom Brady walking into Raymond James Stadium without a mask on made its way onto social media Sunday, as did a photo showing Governor Ron DeSantis not wearing a mask at the game.
“Someone said, ‘Hey, you were at the Super Bowl without a mask,’” DeSantis told reporters Monday, according to The Daily Caller. “But how the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on? Come on. I had to watch the Bucs win.”
A photo emerged on Twitter Monday night that appears to show Mayor Castor attending a sporting event without wearing a mask. It wasn’t immediately clear when or where the photo was taken, but it appears to be a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game judging from the tee-shirts seen in the photo. A man seated next to the mayor is wearing a mask.