Tampa’s celebration of Bucs Super Bowl berth stir coronavirus pandemic safety concerns


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers punched their ticket to Super Bowl LV on Sunday evening, it was a historic moment for the community.

Fans seized the moment and thousands poured into the streets around Raymond James Stadium, honking horns, waving flags and celebrating. Hundreds more showed up at Tampa International Airport to greet the team after they flew back from Green Bay.

WFLA viewers noticed the coverage, and they noted something in particular about the fans: many were not wearing masks and were not being socially distant in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor addressed her concerns about the event on Monday.

“Last night’s event was outside, very breezy, but individuals still need to understand their level of personal responsibility and wear a mask,” Castor said. “It’s very simple.”

Over the next two weeks, many events – both official and unofficial – will surround the game. Castor was asked Monday if she is concerned Super Bowl LV will become a “Super Spreader” event.

“Clearly it is a concern but we can do what we can to ensure we have timed and spaced events and we provide enough events so the Tampa Bay area can participate,” Castor said.

In St. Petersburg, Mayor Rick Kriseman has similar concerns. Kriseman says Pinellas County and his city are putting in tighter restrictions for venues that want to host Super Bowl-related events.

“So anyone who’s looking – whether it’s a bar or restaurant, a facility that’s looking to hold an event for the Super Bowl – there are some very specific things you are going to have to comply with in order to hold that event,” Kriseman said. “It includes mandating masks on everybody, whether it’s indoor or outdoor. It includes social distancing and having people to ensure those rules are being followed and if they’re not, we have the ability to shut the event down.”

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