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WUSF's coverage of Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Feb. 7, 2021.

Flag Might Be Thrown On Tampa Hosts Of Mask-less Super Bowl Parties

Crowd outside WingHouse
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media
A crowd gathers outside WingHouse in Tampa, near Raymond James Stadium, during Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, 2021.

The lack of face masks at many Super Bowl parties throughout the Tampa Bay area might cause some blowback for businesses hosting those events.

There were plenty of pictures of throngs of partygoers whooping it up mask-less in Ybor City before Sunday's Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.

That might spur some action by officials now that the game has been played.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said it's difficult for officers to enforce the mask ordinance when there's thousands of people trying to have a good time. He appealed to people to exercise personal responsibility and take reasonable precautions.

But barring that, he said the city is prepared to take action.

Brian Dugan speaking to a reporter
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said police will be looking at liquor licenses after the Super Bowl to address violations.

"We have been working with code enforcement, and there are some things behind the scenes going on about suspending their wet zoning licensing," he said. "But, you know, you have to remember the governor (Ron DeSantis) has lifted any restrictions on bars and restaurants, so what we can do as far as that is limited."

But Dugan said police have to walk a fine line.

"We cannot let this virus paralyze us, you know, and kill our economy," he said. "We have to be responsible. Government is trying to keep the economy running, but at the same time we're trying to keep the virus in check. But we need people to just cooperate and think this through."

The post-game blowback might also reach St. Petersburg.

Mayor Rick Kriseman on Twitter called a concert hosted by rapper 50 Cent Friday night "stupid."

He said the event at a private airplane hanger at Albert Whitted Airport may be investigated for possible violations of local safety rules.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.