TAMPA strippers are donning protective sequin masks and cleaning poles to prepare for Super Bowl’s big spenders.
Hygiene-aware dancers are gearing up for fans’ massive football fantasy night, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
When Tampa was chosen as host of this year’s Super Bowl, strip club owners anticipated a windfall week.
So, too, did the dancers, who are hoping to rake in $1,000 a night during Super Bowl week.
But there’ll be less money to go around this year, in light of the attendance cap of one-third of the stadium’s capacity – just 22,000 fans can watch their sporting heroes.
Also, the huge event is happening during a horrendous Covid pandemic, with citywide mask mandates in Tampa.
Strip club bosses are aware, too, that as the hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the game, fewer people will be traveling and spending up large.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
Elizabeth Reed, who dances at Scores Gentleman’s Club, told the Associated Press she’s hoping to take in $1,000 a night for her performances.
Based at a strip club near the stadium hosting the Super Bowl, Elizath says wearing masks while working is like “doing cardio” with her nose and mouth covered.
It’s uncomfortable and sweaty, and her carefully applied makeup is often ruined because it gets rubbed off by the mask.
She’s also wary of dancing close to patrons wearing less protective, thinner face coverings.
“It’s not the same,” Elizabeth admitted.
However she’s not complaining – particularly as, like most Americans, she’s aware that frontline health care workers have to wear masks for hours on end.
“It’s been an adjustment. Now I face away from the customer a majority of the time,” she said.
For her dance routines during Super Bowl week, she’ll wear sequined masks that match her sparkly outfits.
One bonus during the pandemic is that “patrons are more generous. When they do go out, they party harder,” she said.
The Penthouse strip club is among the many firms taking necessary Covid precautions in the city.
Penthouse licensing spokesman, Eddie Suqi, has been kept busy ensuring poles are being cleaned frequently between performances, and that all workers are wearing masks and taking temperature checks.
The aim is to make sure staff and patrons are kept healthy and happy.
Joe Redner, the owner of Mons Venus, an all-nude strip club within walking distance of Raymond James Stadium, said: “I’m thinking we’ll get an increase in business but it’s not going to be like anything it was.
“This Covid makes it a whole different world.”
When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Rep) allowed bars and nightclubs to reopen, some strip clubs began offering food.
Others got even more creative, for example promoting online access to dancers for a fee.
Eventually, the clubs reopened.
In Tampa, that meant performers and patrons had to wear masks in an attempt to reduce the spread of the coronavirus – even during lap dances – putting a damper on some of the wild fun of previous years.
Julio Quin, the manager of Scores in Tampa, remains upbeat about Super Bowl week – although it’s unlikely the club will repeat last year’s $250,000 in single bills as tips for strippers.
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Scores has a strict mask policy and tables are spaced six feet apart, with leather chairs aimed at two poles in the middle of the room.
“I imagine the night before the game is going to be the craziest.
“The line’s going to be around the building. All exotic cars outside, and the carpet’s going to be decorated with dollar bills,” Julio said.