Time out: National Championship game shuts down COVID-19 testing, vaccinations at Hard Rock Stadium
Vehicles line up as a healthcare worker helps to check in as citizens is being tested at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Nov. 22.

COVID thanksgiving
The site will fully reopen Tuesday.

State officials are shutting down testing and vaccination for the coronavirus at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami-Dade County because of Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship game.

Testing at the popular location is unavailable throughout the day, while vaccinations will cease at noon Monday. The Florida Division of Emergency Management highlighted the changes Sunday.

The move comes as South Florida has seen the virus resurface in recent weeks following the winter holiday season. On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the stadium would transition into a drive-thru vaccination site in order to expedite the vaccine process in Florida’s most populous county.

The site was selected to handle COVID-19 testing and distribution due to its size and ability to reach a large number of residents.  At a Wednesday news conference, County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava emphasized the importance of making vaccine shots widely available.

“It is truly all hands on deck to get these shots in people’s arms as fast as possible, because getting these vaccines into the community is the best way to protect the most vulnerable and fast forward us toward the end of this pandemic and the restoration of our economy,” Levine Cava said.

“Until we contain this pandemic, we cannot move forward fully with our economy.”

Other sites have also been set up across South Florida to help the state’s hardest-hit region escape the virus’s impact. Nearly 570,000 COVID-19 cases have emerged in the region since the pandemic began. Just under 8,300 people have died after contracting the virus in the tri-county area of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Hard Rock Stadium is typically home to the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes football teams. But the location was also chosen for this year’s title game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes, which will decide the top team in college football.

On Tuesday, the site will once again be fully reopened.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


  • Martyn W.

    January 11, 2021 at 11:06 am

    How idiotic can a group of people be? Shutting down a venue for vaccinations in favor of seeing a bunch of sweating teenagers running around throwing a ball. One can only hope that they can pass their substantive courses without tutoring and speak understandable English.

  • Sonja Fitch

    January 11, 2021 at 11:48 am


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