Thousands line Ybor City streets maskless night before Super Bowl

Ybor City
The images of the night ignore Mayor Jane Castor's executive order requiring the use of face coverings outdoors.

Image and videos of the crowded quarters of 7th Avenue in Ybor City the night before Super Bowl LV have been circulating, raising concern as a potential super-spreader event.

Tampa Bay Times photographer Luis Santana captured some video of the event, posting in a tweet. Of the thousands of party-goers captured, many are seen not wearing masks and in cramped conditions.

In another tweet, Santana called it a “madhouse,” and said it was “officially the wildest I’ve ever seen Ybor. EVER.”

The images of the night show disregard to Mayor Jane Castor’s executive order requiring the use of face coverings outdoors within specified locations related to Super Bowl LV.

The order (2021-07) identifies the locations within the city as “Event Zones” and “Entertainment Districts.” The order has been in effect since Jan. 28 and will remain till Feb. 13. 

The “Event Zones” include areas of downtown Tampa and the area surrounding Raymond James Stadium. The “Entertainment Districts” encompass the Ybor City Historic District, the South Howard Commercial Overlay District, the Central Business District and the Channel District.

The city has recently been experiencing a decline of COVID-19 cases, but doctors warned it to proceed with caution in anticipation of Super Bowl events.

Epidemiologist Dr. Edwin Michael said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the city’s festivities, but that mitigation efforts like masks and social distancing were vital.

“This is really good news, but I am cautiously optimistic, because things can change rapidly,” he said in late January. “We are in the endgame. The vaccines are going to play the biggest role.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, said when it comes to Super Bowl parties during the pandemic, people should “just lay low and cool it.”

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 Super Bowl, which will host 22,000 fans in Raymond James Stadium, which has a capacity of 70,000. The big game will offer free tickets to  7,500 health care workers from across the U.S. who have been vaccinated against the virus.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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