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Masks will be required at the Feb. 7 game and in various outdoor venues and districts around Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, per an executive order issued by the city's mayor.
Football fans heading to the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida must wear a mask to the game and related festivities or risk a $500 fine.
The mandate, issued via executive order by Mayor Jane Castor, began Thursday and extends through Feb. 13. It requires masks outdoors in “event zones and entertainment districts,” which include parts of downtown Tampa and the area surrounding Raymond James Stadium, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs will play on Sunday, Feb. 7.
People who violate the order are subject to a “nominal civil infraction” with a penalty of up to $500. Exceptions include children under the age of 5, people who are outdoors at their private residences and anyone with a medical condition for whom a “face covering would cause impairment.”
Officials said the order was meant to mitigate the spread of the virus in areas that will be congested, preventing people from adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“We are incredibly excited to host a fun and safe Super Bowl here in Tampa—but we need everyone to do their part. We want fans to feel confident knowing that when they come out to celebrate Super Bowl LV, they can do so safely in a city that takes this pandemic seriously,” Castor said in a statement. “In football terms, it’s simple—masks are the right defense. Don’t let Covid-19 intercept your ability to make unforgettable memories or keep your loved ones safe.”
The mandate is one of several safety measures in place for the game, including an attendance cap of 22,000, about a third of the stadium’s normal capacity. That number includes 7,500 vaccinated health workers who received free tickets from the NFL, along with 14,000 paid ticket-holders. Most of those health workers will come from Tampa and other places in central Florida, with the rest coming from the locations of every other NFL team.
Per NFL policy, masks will also be required inside the stadium, and fans will be seated in pods with mandatory social-distancing measures in place.
“These dedicated health care workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "We hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes. This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings."
Kate Elizabeth Queram is a staff correspondent for Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.