Top health officials said this week that Americans should not watch the Super Bowl in person with anyone from outside their household.
Whichever team one is pulling for, “gathering virtually or with the people you live with is the safest way to root for your team and watch the latest commercials,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said in a Tuesday tweet.
Super Bowl LV is taking place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 7. The NFL invited some 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers to attend in-person. Another 14,500 fans are being permitted to watch in the stadium.
The decision on the level of attendance was made after consulting with public health officials, the CDC, the Florida Department of Health, and hospitals and healthcare systems in the Tampa area, the NFL said.
“These officials reviewed and provided feedback on the NFL’s comprehensive plans that will enable the league to host fans and the vaccinated health care workers in a safe and responsible way,” the league said, adding that the league plans on boosting “the already rigorous COVID-19 protocols” that NFL teams used during this season.
People who attend the game in person or ignore public health guidance and attend a large event featuring the game should wear a mask at all times, avoid crowded areas, and not chant or cheer, the CDC’s Walensky said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also advised against holding large parties for the annual sporting event.
“Enjoy the game, watch it on television, but do it with the immediate members of your family, the people in your household,” Fauci said during a virtual appearance on NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday. “As much fun as it is to get together in a big Super Bowl party, now is not the time to do that.”
The CDC updated its large gathering guidance to include tips for attending the Super Bowl or a large event.
Florida has been a haven for sports since early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, made bringing sports back a priority. The NBA, for instance, utilized a campus in the state last year to carry out its so-called bubble environment, finishing its 2019-2020 season after a months-long break.
“Florida is proud to host Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to crown the champion of an unprecedented NFL season. On behalf of Floridians and football fans across the nation, I’d like to thank the many men and women who worked hard to make this game a reality, especially our frontline health care workers who have worked tirelessly over the past year to keep people safe. I look forward to the positive impact this game will have on the Tampa Bay area, and my family and I can’t wait for the big game!” DeSantis said in a recent statement.
Local officials have implemented new restrictions as the Super Bowl date approaches to try to curb transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, a Democrat, issued an order requiring people to wear masks outdoors while in areas near the stadium that’s hosting the game.
Castor’s order says the city expects the Super Bowl and associated events to draw thousands of out-of-town visitors to Tampa and surrounding areas and people are expected to gather in large crowds in the so-called event zone downtown.
People who are found in violation of the order face a fine of up to $500 and a possible second-degree misdemeanor.
“We are incredibly excited to host a fun and safe Super Bowl here in Tampa—but we need everyone to do their part,” Castor said in a statement. “We want fans to feel confident knowing that when they come out to celebrate Super Bowl LV, they can do so safely in a city that takes this pandemic seriously. In football terms, it’s simple—masks are the right defense. Don’t let COVID-19 intercept your ability to make unforgettable memories or keep your loved ones safe.”