Tampa prepares for Super Bowl 55 amid pandemic


TAMPA (WFLA) – Super Bowl 55 in Tampa is just over 90 days away.

On Thursday, the Super Bowl Host Committee made a presentation to Tampa’s City Council and asked for the council to pass an ordinance providing for an “event zone” around the game.

The “event zone” will allow for certain security measures around Raymond James Stadium and in parts of downtown Tampa.

The designation will also control certain tents and signs that can be put up.

City Council member John Dingfelder isn’t convinced the control asked for by the NFL is a good idea.

“I think the NFL tries to impose these conditions on a Super Bowl city like ours and I’m sure they do it every year to try and control everything that’s going on and in our case our stadium is surrounded by people’s homes and I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to impose these significant restrictions on people and their residences,” Dingfelder said.

95-year-old Bueno Himenez lives near the stadium and lets cars park in his yard for football games and other events.

“I got always, the same group, 25 cars,” Himenez said.

This year has been difficult for Himnez and others in the neighborhood who depend on extra income from allowing cars to park in their yards as the pandemic has meant fewer events and far fewer fans than in the past.

This year’s Super Bowl will also see a limited capacity at the game, the economic impact of fewer fans and fewer events around the game is likely to be seen by the entire city.

“We have to look at the economic impact because you expect a full stadium which means hotel rooms are booked and restaurants are booked but it’s completely different world because of this pandemic and we’ve had to modify so many things,” City Council Chairman Guido Maniscalco said.

Still, he believes Tampa will see a benefit from hosting the game.

“The Super Bowl is still coming. You know, it might not be a billion-dollar Super Bowl, it might be a 250 million dollar Super Bowl, just to throw a number out there. I mean but still, it’s significant,” Maniscalco said.

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