16:27 PM

Restaurants and shops at TPA begin to reopen as passenger numbers grow

Tampa International Airport’s shops and restaurants are reopening, and in true Tampa form, the first one back is a bar designed to look like a pirate ship.

On Wednesday, June 10, TPA reopened Gasparilla Bar, on Airside F.

The reopening comes after the restaurant, along with many others, was closed for two months due to significantly reduced passenger numbers as a result of COVID-19.

“We’re excited to welcome smiling faces back to the Airport and to start bringing back some of their favorite food and beverage options for traveling,” said Laurie Noyes, TPA’s Vice President of Concessions and Commercial Parking. “We know cleanliness is top of mind and we want travelers to feel comfortable that all the necessary precautions are being taken. We’re doing everything we can to deliver on that promise.”

Soon after Gasparilla Bar’s reopening came that of illy Espressamente on Airside F - ready to serve hot coffee and both sweet and savory eats. RumFish Grill is slated for reopening later this week.

The gradual reopening of TPA’s shops and restaurants comes alongside the steady return of passengers.

Over the past month, passenger numbers have increased from 85,998 to 229,851 – a nearly 170 percent jump.

The health of all employees and guests will be at the forefront as TPA’s concessions options continue to get back to business.

Shops and restaurants have installed acrylic shields at the registers along with social distancing floor markings. They have also upped disinfecting measures, and all employees are required to wear facemasks while working. Many locations have additional features, including touchless options like Apple Pay and self-checkout.

These procedures are in line with TPA’s larger COVID-19 response plan, dubbed TPA Ready, which prepares the Airport for the gradual return of passengers.

TPA officials expect to reopen additional concepts as passenger numbers continue to grow, with most shops and restaurants coming online later this year.