Shutdowns looming for Jacksonville's internet cafes as enforcement of new law begins this week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's a race against time for internet cafe workers across the city of Jacksonville, before they are served a cease-and-desist.

"It's very bad timing. Everybody is at a loss at this minute trying to figure out what they're going to do," Copa internet cafe worker Tanzi Maestre said.

Copa on Normandy Boulevard is where Charlaine and Roger Scott visit often.

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"I don't think it's right. If we want to spend $20, it's our right to do it," Roger Scott said.

"Don't make no sense," Charlaine Scott added.

But city leaders think differently of the establishments that house simulated gambling devices.

The city says since September of last year, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office got 28,000 calls to addresses tied to nearly 100 internet cafes over a five-year period.

There have also been at least three recent deaths tied to local arcades.

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Small business owners like Mike McDonald told Action News Jax establishments like these helps brings in business so he would hate to see them go.

"The first thing I think of is me shutting down and how it would affect me and my family," McDonald said.

The city plans to begin enforcement on Tuesday with shutdowns slated for Wednesday during follow-up inspections.

Attorney Kelly Mathis represents three internet cafes suing the city.

He filed a motion against a new law Mayor Lenny Curry signed Friday.

Action News Jax found out that could impact the city's efforts to shut down arcades this week.

Mathis said he plans to fight the new ordinance in court.