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Tampa mayor issues mask order for outdoor Super Bowl parties

Tampa mayor issues mask order for outdoor Super Bowl parties
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) runs down field after a reception during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Tampa, Fla., Mayor Jane Castor signed an executive order Thursday requiring masks outdoors in certain local districts hosting Super Bowl festivities.

The goal of the order is to curb COVID-19 spread "where large crowds of people are likely to congregate for Super Bowl-related activities," according to a statement from the mayor's office.

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The Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl LV, which will take place on Feb. 7 at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. The stadium will be at about 33% maximum capacity amid the pandemic with 22,000 fans, including 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers and other fans. In October, the NFL said masks will be required at the stadium and fans will be in pods 6 feet apart.

The order became effective Thursday and is set to remain effective through Feb. 13, unless rescinded.

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The "event zones" affected by the order include areas of downtown Tampa and the area surrounding Raymond James Stadium. The order also includes "entertainment districts" such as the Ybor Historic District, the South Howard Commercial Overlay District, the Central Business District, and the Channel District.

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"We are incredibly excited to host a fun and safe Super Bowl here in Tampa -- but we need everyone to do their part," Castor said in a statement. "We want fans to feel confident knowing that when they come out to celebrate Super Bowl LV, they can do so safely in a city that takes this pandemic seriously."

While the executive order is intended to be voluntary, "as a last resort," violation of the order could result in a $500 fine.

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Exceptions to the order include: children under age 5, people outdoors at their personal residences, people working in a profession where a mask would hinder work, persons for whom a mask would cause impairment due to a health condition or a person communicating with a hearing-impaired individual who needs to see a person's mouth to communicate.

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