Health authorities already worried that the Super Bowl will spark a super-spreader event certainly wouldn’t be happy to see fans without their masks at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday (local time).
Up to 22,000 spectators were allowed into the 66,000-seat stadium in Tampa for America’s showcase event between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.
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However the main provisos were that fans socially-distanced and wore face masks, with the only exception to the mask rule around eating and drinking.
So there was understandable anger around America during the first half of Sunday’s game.
Crowd shots during the early entertainment and first half play showed dozens of fans either wearing their masks incorrectly, or not at all.
TV viewers flocked to social media to condemn the “disgraceful” scenes.
Triggering how many fans they show with masks on but not covering the nose 🥴 #SuperBowl
— Churchy (@Churchy1871) February 8, 2021
— Stephen Jiwanmall (he/him) (@StephenG1Mall) February 8, 2021
Apparently covid doesn’t exist at #SuperBowl - what an absolute disgrace! All night you’ll be talking about our heroes & showing commercials about them. Meanwhile there’s a #packed stadium without social distancing + people pulling masks down to drink/yell.
— Lauren McKinnis (@lmckinnis4) February 8, 2021
This supper bowl is a national disgrace. I see maybe people with no masks or wearing masks under their nose. And no social distancing. It will be a covid super spreader event. Shame on the NFL and the state of Florida. What do you think? Comment below! #NFL #COVID19 #SuperBowl
— John Bolony (@bolony) February 7, 2021
The only thing that could get me invested in the Super Bowl right now would be if they stopped playing, put the camera on random fans who are wearing their masks below their noses, and the commentators started mercilessly heckling them.
— Samantha Weiner (@SamanthaWeiner1) February 8, 2021
Keep seeing the camera switch REAL FAST when they realize the fans aren’t wearing their masks over their mouth and nose 🙄🤦🏽♂️ you can’t hide it #SuperBowl
— Nick 🏳️🌈 (@Fiddies2) February 8, 2021
And then we see shit like the Super Bowl with fans. I don’t care who is vaccinated or not. I see video shots of fans with masks off. It’s just angering.
— Ghostless #BLM (@Ghostless) February 8, 2021
Yes, I know there’s a hell of a lot of cardboard cutouts in the crowd at the Super Bowl, but 25,000 actual people being packed into a stadium during an ongoing deadly pandemic is still terrifying.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) February 8, 2021
It’s disgusting to allow this many fans at the Super Bowl Super Spreader event. The NFL doesn’t give a damn about human lives; if they did, they’d manage this season the way the NBA did with its bubble last year.
— Marcus Ismael (@marcus_ismael) February 7, 2021
Officials express concern about Super Bowl parties
Health authorities’ worst fears were realised over the weekend with fans flocking to downtown Tampa to celebrate in large numbers.
The nation’s top health officials sounded the alarm this week about the Super Bowl being a potential super-spreader event, and they urged people to gather with friends over Zoom, not in crowds.
However residents in Tampa were seen partying without masks or social-distancing on the city’s historic Seventh Avenue on Saturday night.
Concerning photos emerged from the strip in Tampa’s Ybor City neighbourhood, showing hundreds of people packed together, many without masks.
Tampa Bay Times photographer Luis Santana said the crowd would have reached the tens of thousands, saying it was the “wildest he’d ever seen” the neighbourhood.
“I’m worried about Super Bowl Sunday, quite honestly,” said Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
“People gather, they watch games together. We’ve seen outbreaks already from football parties.
“So I really do think that we need to watch this and be careful.”
Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, also issued a warning against holding parties to celebrate.
“Absolutely not. I mean, watch the Super Bowl on TV, enjoy it. Have a party in your house with your family with the people who are there,” he said.
“But you don’t want parties with people that you haven’t had much contact with, you just don’t know if they’re infected.
“So as difficult as that is, at least this time around, just lay low and cool it.”
with Associated Press
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