Tampa mayor mandates masks at Super Bowl events

By Tina Burnside, CNN

    (CNN) -- Mayor Jane Castor has issued an executive order mandating the use of face coverings during events surrounding the upcoming Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida.

The order, which Castor signed Wednesday, requires face masks to be worn outdoors in event zones and entertainment districts, including parts of Tampa's downtown and the area surrounding the Raymond James Stadium, where the big game is set to take place February 7.

It is intended to mitigate the spread of coronavirus at sites where large crowds of people are likely to congregate for Super Bowl related activities, with limited ability to remain socially distanced from each other, the city said in a news release.

Those who are not wearing a mask can be cited with a "nominal civil infraction" that carries a penalty up to a $500 fine, according to the order. There are some exceptions to the order, including children under the age of 5.

"We are incredibly excited to host a fun and safe Super Bowl here in Tampa -- but we need everyone to do their part. 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," said Castor.

The order goes into effect on January 28 and will remain in place in the Tampa area until February 13 unless otherwise modified, repealed or terminated.

"We are grateful to the NFL and the Host Committee for being amazing partners and going above and beyond to implement strict COVID-19 safety precautions.

"Now, we need everyone to take personal responsibility to keep themselves, others fans and our Tampa Bay community safe," said Castor.

The National Football League is inviting 7,500 vaccinated health care workers to be among the 22,000 fans in attendance at the Super Bowl, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this month.

The league said health care workers will be recognized with planned tributes in the stadium and during the broadcast of the game.

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