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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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On Thursday, February 4, Axios Tampa Bay reporters Selene San Felice and Ben Montgomery hosted a Smart Take conversation on the hospitality industry, economic recovery and the return to work in Tampa, featuring Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Tampa Bay Economic Development Council CEO Craig Richard.

Mayor Jane Castor discussed how Tampa has approached public health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • On how the city is supporting its residents during the pandemic. "There's a moratorium on any evictions...In addition, we are working in collaboration with career sources on workforce development. That is one of the larger elements of my administration's platform."
  • On how existing development projects were able to safely progress during the pandemic: "We hired a medical director at the city and individuals had to be screened before they could come on the job site. They had to wear masks, they had to socially distance and there had to be hand washing stations throughout those locations. ..I'm very proud to say, out of the thousands of workers that we were able to keep employed, we had very few COVID-19 cases at those locations."

Craig Richard unpacked economic development in Tampa and the impact it has on the 2021 Super Bowl.

  • On the challenges of economic development during the pandemic: "Tampa Bay's challenges aren't unlike any other big cities challenges right now: the challenges that we're facing are primarily pandemic related. All the obstacles and barriers that are associated with that it difficult to bring in clients and prospects and actually show them the fine city that we have."

Axios Senior Vice President of Client Partnerships Jon Otto hosted a View from the Top segment with 'Dinner Done!' co-founder and CEO Audra Nasser, who discussed the food industry in Tampa.

  • How having a digital presence impacted their ability to operate during the pandemic: "It also gave us inventory controls and that turned out to be very critical in our ability to immediately begin offering curbside pickup to our customers. Additionally, we used a lot of social media like Facebook and Instagram to continuously communicate with our customers."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Tampa economic leader says transit, infrastructure improvements could drive growth

Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery (L) and Tampa Bay Economic Development Council CEO Craig Richard (R). Photo: Axios

Improving transportation and infrastructure in Tampa could drive significant economic growth, Tampa Bay Economic Development Council CEO Craig Richard said on Thursday at an Axios virtual event.

The big picture: Tampa has buses for public transportation and has improved its biking and pedestrian access in recent years. But the city does not have a rail system outside of the TECO line streetcar, which is not high-speed and has limited reach. Some infrastructure throughout Hillsborough County is also in need of repair.

Tampa Mayor Castor outlines city preparations for pandemic Super Bowl

Photo: Axios.

Indoor and outdoor mask mandates, hand-washing stations and strict checks on local businesses are in store for Super Bowl visitors to Tampa, Mayor Jane Castor (D) said Thursday at an Axios virtual event.

The state of play: Tampa ordered an indoor mask mandate early in the pandemic, but Castor further imposed an outdoor mask mandate last month for "areas that we expect there will be large crowds [that] will congregate."

Suzuki's marine division picks location for corporate HQ in Tampa

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Suzuki Motors of America has settled on an office building off Tampa Road near Oldsmar as the corporate headquarters for its new company, Suzuki Marine USA.

Why it matters: The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council said the company will create "numerous jobs over the next several years" and operations are set to begin in April.

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