Mask blotter: Some of the many reasons people called Tampa Bay police over masks

With mask orders in effect for most of the region, people are calling the cops.
A disposable mask lies on the pavement amid the COVID-19 pandemic at Petrol Mart, a gas station, in Thonotosassa on June ,15,2020.
A disposable mask lies on the pavement amid the COVID-19 pandemic at Petrol Mart, a gas station, in Thonotosassa on June ,15,2020. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jul. 12, 2020|Updated Jul. 13, 2020

With much of Tampa Bay under a mandatory mask order, the Tampa Bay Times requested records from more than a dozen law enforcement agencies seeking logs of any calls they received involving masks.

Related: Mask rules spur hundreds of 911 calls around Tampa Bay

Some agencies were unable to track mask calls specifically, and some could only provide an incomplete log. Below is an incomplete sampling of many of the calls that came in to police involving masks over the past few weeks

Pasco County

June 24, 9:56 — Maskless man yelling at manager and customers in drive-through after being denied service at McDonald’s.

June 25, 12:36 p.m. — Man threatening to shoot Wawa employee after she told him to put a mask on.

June 26, 6:18 p.m. — Caller insisting to speak to deputy about the lack of masks at Lowe’s.

June 27, 3:23 p.m. — Verbal disturbance after customer felt singled by being told to wear a mask at Citgo when others were not.

June 28, 1:02 p.m. — Man driving his truck in circles around Advance Auto Parts building after threatening to ram his vehicle into the store when he was denied entry due to no mask.

July 1, 2:32 p.m. — Angry tenant continuously pounding on locked door of leasing office after the Worthington Court apartment manager enacted restrictions at the pool due to COVID-19.

July 1, 8:50 p.m. — Screaming woman refusing to leave Carmelitas Mexican Restaurant after being told she had to wear a mask and view the menu online.

July 2, 5:35 p.m. — Caller with medical condition calling 911 to say 7-Eleven denied him service.

July 3, 11:12 p.m. — Universal Fine Wine and Spirits employees refusing to serve customer who said she could not wear a mask due to a medical issue. The customer called 911.

July 5, 7:15 p.m. — Man threatening to beat up Sunoco employees after being told to wear a mask.


June 18 — Heavily intoxicated man arguing with a security guard over his refusal to wear a mask at the Clearwater Mall. Man yelled and threatened to beat up the guard.

June 25 — Caller complaining other customers at Racetrac are not wearing masks, and the clerk said they did not have to.

June 27 — Woman calling 911 to say other guests at the Wyndham Grand in Clearwater are not wearing masks, and that clerk said they did not have to.

June 29 — Customers in Lowe’s are not wearing masks.

July 1 — 50-year-old man at Costco repeatedly throwing a mask on the floor whenever a manager approaches him about the store’s mask rule.

July 1 — Employee and customer both calling to complain about each other during a shouting match at Wawa. The clerk says the customer is causing a scene, refusing to wear a mask. The customer wants to report the clerk for yelling at people for not wearing a mask. The customer says she has a concealed weapon permit.

Planning your weekend?

Planning your weekend?

Subscribe to our free Top 5 things to do newsletter

We’ll deliver ideas every Thursday for going out, staying home or spending time outdoors.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

New Port Richey

June 8 — Lyft driver refused to let rider in his car without a mask. The rider was upset because the driver drove to the destination without him, and his account was charged.

June 23 — Man called from Oyo Hotel saying he wanted police to explain if he was allowed to wear a mask while carrying a concealed weapon. Police said they couldn’t provide legal advice.

June 26 — Man with no mask at Sullivan’s Lounge “started to get rowdy.” He left when the owner called 911.

June 27, 9:27 a.m. — Cook at Caposey’s restaurant says the owner pushed him in the chest after telling him to put his mask back on.

June 29 — Caller ordered a lift kit for his golf cart, but received a package containing three masks instead. Wants a Paypal refund. Officer explained it was a civil matter.

July 1 — Woman at North Bay Hospital refusing to wear a mask at the ambulance bay.

Hillsborough County

July 2, 1:12 p.m. — Disturbance involving two men at Dollar General in Ruskin refusing to wear masks. Someone “pulled out a KKK mask to ‘make light’ of the situation.”


June 28 — Caller asked if it was okay to carry a concealed weapon while wearing a mask.

June 29 — Man flagging down officer to say that a cook at the Chinese restaurant Hong Kong was not wearing a mask.

June 29 — Man removed from a PSTA bus after a driver said the passenger refused to wear his mask properly. The officer drove two women, who were somehow involved in the altercation, to another bus stop.

June 30 — A woman cursing out the staff and using racial slurs at a Dollar Tree when told to wear a mask.

July 1 — A woman, while on the phone with police, confronts a maskless man in a McDonald’s parking lot as he climbs back into his dump truck. She could be heard telling the dump truck driver she was “going to approach everyone who is not wearing a mask.”

July 1 — Walgreens manager called police to say customers were not wearing masks.

July 2 — Family Dollar manager and other employees wearing masks “hanging under their chins.” An officer responded, but saw no violations. The manager’s mask was simply “loose,” the report said.

Pinellas Park

June 25 — A Michael’s craft store manager named Barbara calling to report a 39-year-old woman, also named Barbara, for refusing to wear a mask and being “loud and abusive.” The woman was in the checkout line wearing a mask when the officer arrived and told her she was banned from the store. She told the officer she didn’t want to come back anyway.

June 29 — Man refusing to leave or wear a mask while ordering at Panda Express. When police arrived, the maskless man said he wanted to file a “discrimination complaint,” and felt he was only being asked to wear a mask because of his “rougher” work clothing. The man was banned from Panda Express under threat of trespass charges.


June 19, 5:53 p.m. — Woman refusing to wear a mask or leave Ikea.

June 20, 10:17 a.m. — Customers not wearing masks at Oxford Exchange.

June 20, 1:36 a.m. — Large group without masks being dropped off in buses in Ybor City.

June 20, 3:07 p.m. — Church group handing out pamphlets to cars with no masks.

June 23, 10:12 a.m. — Man in Flamingo shirt refused to wear a mask at Mi Sol Cafe. Clerk tried to sell him one. Customer leaned over the counter. Clerk felt threatened, and threw a metal stool. Customer threw it back, striking the clerk in the head.

June 24, 10:16 a.m. — Woman refusing to leave Grand Wash Laundromat. Says she does not have to wear a mask because she knows the owner. Banned with trespassing warrant.

June 25, 12:12 p.m. — Customer angry he was forced to wear a mask at a gas station when others were not.

June 26, 3:20 p.m. — Blackstone Medical Services staff appears to be having a potluck meal without masks.

June 27, 3:13 p.m. — No masks at a children’s beauty pageant held at the Westshore Ramada.

June 27, 8:23 p.m. — Maskless man, woman and child refusing to leave Taco Bell on Fowler Ave.

June 28, 6:53 p.m. — Large block party, no masks.

June 29, 10:41 a.m. — Woman removed from Discount Coin Laundry for refusing to wear mask. Banned with trespass warning.

June 30, 12:20 p.m. — Woman entered Family Dollar for work and found 15 coworkers without masks. Called 911 to say “I have my mask on, why don’t they have theirs on?”

June 30, 3:51 p.m. — Woman standing in front of the Hub starts yelling every time she’s asked to wear a mask.

June 30, 4:59 p.m. — 911 call for combative man refusing to wear mask at Nordstrom Rack.

July 1, 11:29 a.m. — Aggressive, belligerent and irate man at Sunshine Thrift refusing to wear mask.

July 2, 12:36 p.m. — Maskless customers in Petco.

July 2, 2:20 p.m. — Maskless customers at Discount Auto.

July 3, 8:44 p.m. — Maskless customers at Publix in Channel District.

July 4, 9:53 a.m. — Men with clipboard going door to door in a neighborhood without masks.

July 5, 12:59 p.m. — Disturbance over maskless man wanting to use a gas station restroom.

July 6, 1:46 p.m. — Maskless man coughing in people’s faces while doing laundry.


June 26, 3:24 p.m. — Woman calling to complain that her brother, who tested positive for COVID-19 two days earlier, was not quarantining because he said he felt fine, and had visited Cheddar’s, Fat Cat Tavern, Family Dollar and Publix without a mask.

June 29, 9:17 p.m. — 34-year-old woman with “unknown flu like symptoms” causing disturbance at 7-Eleven on Largo Road after previously being trespassed due to no mask.

July 3, 3:26 p.m — Group of men hanging around in the store and outside “coughing all over” with no masks. Issued trespass warning.

July 4, 7:20 p.m. — Harassment complaint against the Sports Shack. Caller says he is being singled out by being asked to wear a mask inside the bar, when others are not. Says he is a veteran and he feels disrespected because July 4 is his holiday. Advised officer that he is a militia member and when Antifa comes to “Larghetto” he “will stand shoulder to shoulder” with Largo PD.

July 6, 3:17 p.m. — Man waiting outside McDonald’s causing a disturbance after being told to leave due to no mask.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.

LATEST ON CORONAVIRUS: Six things we’ve learned about the coronavirus since March.

MASK UPDATE: Find out where you have to wear a mask in Tampa Bay

FILING TAXES?: What to know about the July 15 tax deadline

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.

THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic.

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.