TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Monday morning, leaders from all over the Tampa Bay Area joined together to talk about Super Bowl plans over the next two weeks and how to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.

Tampa’s Mayor, Jane Castor says most Super Bowl-related events over the next couple weeks will be held outdoors to allow for social distancing, but says she’s also encouraging everyone to take personal responsibility of their health.

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Clearwater’s Mayor, Frank Hibbard says, “Cinderella is a fairytale. The Bucs being in the Super Bowl in Tampa, is not.” For the first time in NFL history, the hosting city of the Super Bowl will be competing in the game.

Residents in the Tampa Bay Area are more excited than ever before for the Super Bowl. Tampa-native, Mike Thompson says, “I did not think I would live to see this day.”

Following the Buccaneers defeating the Green Bay Packers on Sunday to secure their NFC divisional win, local leaders say they are overjoyed. With the celebration comes planning to make sure everyone stays safe. “We’re going to have our marine patrol out, our bike squads out. We’re going to have our mountain patrol. We’re going to have eyes in the sky, we’re going to have our canine units out, our paramedics, firefighters. Everyone coming together,” said Mayor Castor. She adds, even though the Super Bowl is something to celebrate, the pandemic needs to stay in focus. “It may not affect you personally because you’re young and healthy, but you can take it home to individuals that it may be a death sentence [for],” said Castor.

The Tampa Bay Area will be enforcing the mask mandate and people will be advised to stand six feet apart during all Super Bowl events. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman says, “Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa, we take it seriously so you can feel comfortable coming here.”

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Despite the pandemic, Rob Higgins with the Tampa Bay Sports Commission says the timing of the Super Bowl couldn’t be better. “From a standpoint economically, this will be the most hotel rooms nights that we’ve seen since the pandemic started. From an airline traveler standpoint, it’s already more than double what it’s been on average recently,” said Higgins.

The NFL Super Bowl experience starts Friday on Tampa’s Riverwalk. It will feature outdoor bars, food and activities.


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