Don't fumble the big game.

By Tim Nelson
February 03, 2021
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Let's just get this out of the way first: It's probably not the best year to be attending the Super Bowl in person. Nonetheless, the NFL says that 25,000 fans are expected to be in attendance when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the hometown Buccaneers in Tampa, not to mention the millions of others who might step outside of their quarantine bubble to watch on TV. 

Perhaps in recognition of the inevitable, the CDC recently released some updated large gathering guidelines that have the big game in mind. Though the recommendations start with a preface that your best bet is to simply watch the game at home, the document at least includes a series of steps fans can take to make sure they cheer their team on (ideally through a series of claps and stomps) as safely as possible. 

At a fundamental level, you're going to want to respect social distancing at whatever venue you choose to watch, and stay masked up whenever you're not sipping a beer or shoveling nachos into your mouth. Chanting and cheering should ideally be avoided, with stopping, clapping, or using handheld noisemakers considered CDC-approved alternatives. 

While Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium will (hopefully) organize seating such that fans aren't too close together while watching the action on the field, the CDC also advises minimizing the time spent congregating in higher-traffic areas including bathrooms, bars, and concession stands. To do that, they recommend avoiding leaving your seat at peak times like halftime and immediately after the game, which has really just been common sense for attending any sporting event since the beginning of time. 

Another bit of advice that's useful whether you're out in the world or just having a few extra friends over is to stay cognizant over your alcohol consumption. Alcohol itself doesn't put you at greater risk of exposure to covid-19, but the loosening of inhibitions that comes after a few drinks could leave you more likely to let your guard down. It'll also help prevent that dreaded Super Bowl Monday hangover that nobody loves. 

Though it'd be altogether unsurprising if a Super Bowl spike (not the Rob Gronkowski kind) took place in the weeks that followed, at least the good news is that a Tampa Bay-based Super Bowl means Buccaneers fans won't have to travel to get to the big game. For the rest of us neutral observers, just remember that the commercials, halftime show, and outcome of the game will still be the same experience at home as you'd get anywhere else.