Unpermitted cyber cafes get 24 hours to close or face arrest

Some internet cafes had deadlines extended

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Unpermitted adult arcades in Jacksonville, also known as internet or cyber cafes, were given until 5 p.m. Tuesday to move out and anyone remaining thereafter faces a risk of being arrested, according to a release from a city spokesperson.

The city of Jacksonville said the businesses will be checked on Wednesday, and at that time, officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will begin arresting employees for trespassing. Customers will be given a chance to leave, but if anyone refuses, they, too, will be arrested.

For some of the business, the deadline was extended. For at least two sites, the deadline no longer applies.

In May, the Jacksonville City Council approved a measure to shut down all permitted adults arcades by February. Originally, those without a permit were informed they must shut down by Monday evening.

News4Jax went to a number of locations Monday and several have been approved to stay open.

Shadi Sammour, the manager of Fun Time Arcade on Harts Road, said his business received a notice to shut its doors a week ago. After talking with the city, it was determined the arcade has the proper permits to stay open until February, which is when all internet cafes must close.

"We are going to stay open until we hear something else from the city," Sammour said.

Two other arcades, Suited Jax Arcade and Lucky's Cyber Center, threatened a lawsuit. News4Jax learned Monday the issue was settled out of court with the city deciding to extend their deadlines.

Because code enforcement officials, building and zoning officials and the Sheriff's Office are investigating, it's unclear how many businesses will be closed when the city begins the process of condemning the buildings.

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