“We’re going to make the most of it,” said Tampa’s Mayor Lots of people preparing for a party and businesses are tourism-conscious

TAMPA, Fla – The big national party on Super Bowl Sunday, where families and friends curl up on the couch and share prawn platters and beers in front of the TV, has dangerous potential for new coronavirus infections across the country / p>

That’s the unenviable position of Tampa, Fla, where the showdown between the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs and the hometown of Tampa Bay Buccaneers takes place this weekend.The city faces two seemingly opposing challenges at the same time: It celebrates the place of the Home team at the Super Bowl, a first in National Football League history, while preventing the game from turning into an embarrassing super-spreading event

Mayor Jane Castor will have none of the downer, “We’re going to make the best of it,” she said

The people of Tampa – Tampanians or Tampeños, not Tampans, thank you – seem intent on having a good time

“Thank goodness it’s in Tampa,” said Kim Catalone, 51, watching a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game with a friend Wednesday night at the Pint and Brew Bar downtown. “Thank you, Gov Ron DeSantis, who opened Florida to tourism and made such a wonderful experience possible ”

Yes, bars are open in Florida – and that during the Sunday game.Some of them are promotional watch parties, although thanks to the mild subtropical winter – the Tampa low is expected to be 57 degrees on Sunday – at least some of the celebrations are outdoors can and 22000 fans, about a third of the normal capacity of the Raymond James Stadium, will be gathered in the stands

Kelly Ladd, the general manager of Pint and Brew, said the craft brewery saw a huge surge in customers last weekend after the opening of the Super Bowl Experience, a fan carnival for Super Bowl Sunday, Ms. Ladd said, the Brewery is only open for reservations. Most tables were sold by Wednesday

“We just got up and prepared to be as busy as possible,” she said. “It’s definitely not as crazy as it would have been, but after 2020 we’re just glad that as much as possible is going on is ”

Ms. Castor noted that Tampa held a Victory Parade even during the pandemic after the Blitz won the Stanley Cup in September The Tampa Bay Rays then made the World Series in October, making Tampa the undisputed sports summit in the country today p>

The virus has caused Tampa to postpone its annual Gasparilla festival to April, a pirate-themed celebration similar to Mardi Gras that would normally have taken place on the last weekend of January

“Of course you have to worry: we are in the middle of a pandemic, there is no denying that, and it is a virus that is easily transmitted,” said Dr Castor said of the Super Bowl “On the other hand, it can be handled easily if people take the simple steps of wearing masks and separating when possible”

Before the game, she expanded the city’s mask order to apply to outside areas of the city where people are likely to congregate

Tampa has previously hosted Super Bowls in unusual circumstances, although nothing resembles a pandemic. The game took place here in 1991, right after Operation Desert Storm, when American forces were helping to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait and put in place additional security said Steve Hayes, President and CEO of Visit St Pete / Clearwater, one of the Tampa Bay tourist boards (Tampa Bay is a body of water, not a place; the city of Tampa is on one side of the bay with its neighbor St. Petersburg and Clearwater on the other hand) In 2009, Tampa hosted the Super Bowl after the financial crash

With the Bucs in the game this year, only about half of the fans will come in, an advantage for virus control and a disadvantage for hotels and restaurants hoping to make up for business lost due to downtime as many well-known sponsors and If their customers stay away, business venues and the richest fans are also expected to suffer

“This region has always faced the challenge of adapting to make it better,” said Mr Said Hayes

Miami hosted the Super Bowl last year at one of the last major, iconic national events before the coronavirus forced the nation to shut down the following month, so this weekend’s Tampa event is kind of a milestone, an indicator of how the world has changed a lot in a year

While there is no evidence of it, many people in Florida have long wondered if the virus might have been floating around at last year’s Super Bowl, according to Tara Kirk Sell, senior associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, an expert on large-scale health events , said that this is not out of the realm of possibility – but that the truth may never be known

There were a handful of anecdotes from attendees who remembered experiencing flulike symptoms in the days that followed, but it was also flu season, and when Dr Kirk Sell pointed out that extensive testing for the virus has not been done

“We’ll never know exactly what happened in the Super Bowl and if the virus was there,” she said

About 7500 of the people participating in Sunday’s game will be vaccinated health workers invited by the N.F.L. to thank them for a year of hard work. One of them will be Rebecca Izquierdo, a 41-year-old nurse case manager at Sarasota Memorial Hospital south of Tampa

“I really feel that my team has faced the many challenges of this pandemic and it is so special to us that we will be able to be a part of history,” she said not only working on this pandemic but also on the history of the Super Bowl: we will see the greatest player of all time, Tom Brady, and the greatest young quarterback, Patrick Mahomes ”

(The nickname that some tried to adopt for the region after the Bucs Mr. Brady was “Tompa Bay” last year)

But whatever happens on Sunday in Tampa that worries epidemiologists most is not the crowd in the stadium, but the people watching the game in their living rooms – and that concern extends well beyond Florida

Many people may feel an irresistible impulse to gather, chew, and celebrate the most American late winter celebrations, said Dr Marissa J. Levine, the director of the Center for Leadership in Public Health Practice at the University of South Florida

“We all need something really positive to look forward to for our emotional and mental wellbeing,” said Dr Levine said “But we have to be vigilant”

Lauren Adriaansen, 35, a Tampa native who lives near the football stadium – she can usually hear the cannons go off when the Bucs hit – said she was glad the team was in but concerned about the people who clump together during and after the game

“We saw what happened when we won the Stanley Cup,” she said. “There were parades and the welcome to the Cup home and everything that kept a lot of people busy for a long period of time in close proximity to one another”

“I think this looks like most of the other Super Bowls,” she said, “And as tempting as normality is, this is not a normal year”

There was certainly a lot going on at the Super Bowl Experience on Wednesday. Thousands of people, mostly Bucs fans, mingled in Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park Covid-19 regulations were listed on a tall billboard Face covers were required and could not have valves or vents Face protection was only allowed with a face cover Hand sanitizing stations were set up throughout the park Masks can be removed while eating or drinking in special concession areas / p>

Jay Money, 31, who had traveled from the Kansas City area last week, was sitting alone on Wednesday afternoon drinking a Bud Light at a concession stand. To show his love for the Chiefs, Mr. Money pulled up his left sleeve, revealing an aged tattoo of the team logo that he got when he was 13

“It’s like my kids are born and then the Chiefs go to the Super Bowl,” said Mr. Money said “It’s very important to me”

Super Bowl, Tom Brady

World News – FI – How does a city host a Super Bowl during a pandemic?

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/05/us/tampa-superbowl-coronavirus.html