hc1’s Dr. Peter J. Plantes’ Tips for Staying Safe on Super Bowl Sunday

Posted in News on Thursday, February 04, 2021.

Super Bowl LV kicks off Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. It will be historic in more ways than one —capacity will be limited to 25,000 fans, including 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers admitted for free, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the first team in history to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an effect on more than just the number of fans in the stands.  Anheuser-Busch isn’t hosting the 600 people it typically sends to the game each year. Bridgestone has also cancelled its annual hospitality events.  Sleep Number is leaning toward not sending its usual 20 to 30 people to run consumer booths, while the USAA, which usually gives 1,000 active military members, veterans and their families a chance to interact with players and coaches the week of the game, will likely host virtual chats with players instead.

Even sports media giant ESPN plans on cutting back its presence.

Despite these COVID-related changes, plenty of establishments in Kansas City and the Tampa Bay Area will be hosting Super Bowl watch parties — and many fans across the country are expected to be doing the same. This could be especially troubling in Florida, a COVID-19 hot spot that reports more than 1.7 million cases of COVID-19 — including approximately 101,000 in Tampa’s Hillsborough County — and nearly 26,000 COVID-related deaths. Restaurants and bars in the state are allowed to operate at full capacity and Gov. Ron DeSantis has banned localities from enforcing mask mandates through penalties and fines.

Dr. Peter J. Plantes, a Physician Executive with our client hc1, the leader in critical insight, analytics, and solutions for precision health that power high-value health care, recommends skipping the parties and watching the game at home — an opinion shared earlier this week Dr. Anthony Fauci.

But if you must celebrate with others, Dr. Plantes shared some ideas on how to stay safe while doing so.

Party virtually — Prop up your laptop or any device of your choice right next to your big screen TV and watch the game with friends — all from the comfort and safety of your home and theirs.

Take it outside — If you’re hosting a party, move it outdoors, where the ventilation is better and the risk of a COVID-19 infection decreases. Yes, it’s the first week of February — but football is traditionally a cold-weather sport. Those living in the Tampa Bay Area have no excuse to stay indoors: though there is a chance of rain, the forecast is calling for a high of 70 degrees on Super Bowl Sunday.

Mask up — Whenever they’re not eating or drinking, make sure everyone at the party is wearing a mask. For an added twist, have everyone guess the game’s final score and write it on their mask. A prize goes to the winner — and you’ll get to spend the next year poking fun at those whose predictions were way off. And if you do venture out to a bar or restaurant that doesn’t force you to wear a mask, wear one anyway.

Get tested beforehand — Symptoms of COVID-19 range from severe to mild to asymptomatic, where a carrier has no idea they’re sick. Kickoff isn’t until 6:30 p.m., leaving you plenty of time to undergo a rapid test.

Practice safety protocols — Again, the best way to prevent exposure to COVID-19 is to just stay home. But if you do venture out, remember to wash your hands, remain 6 feet apart and don’t share any utensils or drink ware.

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