Photos: Large crowds, few masks in streets of Tampa before Super Bowl

The Big Game

TAMPA, Fla. (NEXSTAR) — As officials in Florida warned the Super Bowl had the potential to be a super-spreader event if people didn’t practice proper pandemic protocols, thousands crowded the streets of the Ybor City neighborhood on Saturday night.

Images show a few people wearing masks — but the majority of people without face coverings and well within six feet of each other.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, says when it comes to Super Bowl parties during the pandemic, people should “just lay low and cool it.” It’s fair to say “laying low” wasn’t happening on Saturday evening.

Fauci said during TV interviews earlier this week that now isn’t the time to invite people over for watch parties because of the possibility that they’re infected with the coronavirus and could sicken others.

Big events like Sunday’s game in Tampa, Florida, between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are always a cause for concern over the potential for virus spread, Fauci said.

“You don’t want parties with people that you haven’t had much contact with,” he told NBC’s “Today” show. “You just don’t know if they’re infected, so, as difficult as that is, at least this time around, just lay low and cool it.”

The NFL has capped game attendance at 22,000 people because of the pandemic and citywide coronavirus mandates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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