TAMPA, Fla. — Officials who have tried to discourage large gatherings during this pandemic have had no luck with local teams winning so much.
First, the Lightning’s Stanley Cup championship brought together thousands for the boat parade and celebration at Raymond James Stadium.
And Sunday night, hundreds of fans got together to scream about the Buccaneers going to the Super Bowl.
“It is a bit frustrating. But we also have the ability to host all of these events outdoors, and that raises the level of safety, just being outside with the breeze blowing. But that doesn’t negate the need for a mask,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.
City leaders say they won’t be focused on enforcing COVID-19 guidelines.
Instead, they want to encourage everyone to understand their own level of personal responsibility.
“We want to make sure everyone is having it safe. We want everyone to enjoy the event. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but at the same time, you have to be aware,” said Tampa Police Department Assistant Chief Ruben Delgado.
Along with Tampa leaders, those from Pinellas County hope to reap the benefits of hosting the Super Bowl too.
“Come visit us. Come visit us for this game. Spend an entire week here or two weeks here, for that matter. Come down right away,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Kriseman says visitors will be coming to an area that takes COVID-19 seriously.
“But you’ll also be coming to a place where you can do a lot of things in addition to watching an amazing football game and experiencing everything that a Super Bowl has to offer.”
The first big event begins Friday when the Super Bowl Experience opens at Julian B. Lane Park.