Super Bowl Pandemic Style


Kailani Yamashiro , Staff Writer

For the past 54 years, people have typically gathered with finger foods and watched the Super Bowl on the first Sunday of February. Due to the pandemic and precautions to prevent the spread of COVID, this year, officials and health departments have teamed up with the NFL in hopes of avoiding a superspreader event during the Super Bowl. The question is: will it work?

The Seton Hall Sports Poll asked people if they would stay home to watch the game: 25% said they would gather with people outside of their home, and 11% said they were not sure. With different and even more contagious strains of the virus surfacing, meeting in groups is highly frowned upon. 

The Los Angeles Health Department has ordered restaurants and bars to keep TVs off after reopening dining indoors and outdoors. This is in hopes that crowds will be smaller and the spread of COVID won’t increase. If you are, in fact, planning to gather while the Super Bowl is playing or want ideas on how to have your own watch party, the CDC issued guidelines for watching the Super Bowl.

The football players and staff have been tremendously cautious in order to have the opportunity to play this year. The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play in front of 25,000 fans. This is the lowest attendance of all time, with about 30,000 cardboard cutouts of fans filling in the space between. Fans will have to adhere to strict safety protocols like wearing a complimentary KN95 mask at all times, presenting all tickets on mobile devices, maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from other fans, and more. The players and staff have been tested daily and are adhering to even more protocols leading up to Sunday. 

“Up to this point, across the league, we’ve now performed more than a million tests,” said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President.

In an effort to give back to the heroes of 2020-2021, the NFL has invited 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers—mostly located in the Tampa Bay area—to the Super Bowl. Besides gifting them free Super Bowl tickets, the NFL will also acknowledge them in a few special moments during the game. 

“We are grateful for the leadership the NFL has shown in thanking our health care workers and promoting vaccine acceptance around Super Bowl LV. I applaud them for making safety their top priority, and for taking a thoughtful approach to make sure that the Super Bowl will be a safe and meaningful experience for fans and the Tampa Bay community,” said Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees.

Whether you are rooting for the Chiefs or Buccaneers this year, remember to be safe.


Photo courtesy of BAYNEWS9.COM