Super Bowl LV: Health officials warn against watch parties to avoid coronavirus spread

Concerned that Super Bowl parties would lead to another surge in coronavirus cases, health officials are asking fans to stay home and follow health guidelines on Sunday.

Although outdoor dining is again allowed at restaurants in California, following the lifting of the state's stay-at-home order, Los Angeles County's revised health order prohibits such areas from having televisions with broadcast programming.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said during TV interviews Wednesday that now isn't the time to invite people over for watch parties because of the possibility that they're infected with the coronavirus and could sicken others.

People should "just lay low and cool it," the nation's top infectious disease expert said.

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.

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The NFL has capped game attendance at 22,000 people because of the pandemic and citywide coronavirus mandates.

The counties of Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside, and the city of Long Beach do not have rules prohibiting TVs from restaurant patios, but other guidelines are in place: remain seated, only dine with members of your own household, and wear a face covering when not eating or drinking.

At a news conference on Thursday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged residents to "hold off on getting together with people outside of your household.

"If you're going to watch the Super Bowl this weekend, do it safely," the mayor said. "Host a virtual watch party, or talk about the game over a group chat. And as we gear up to hos the next Super Bowl, which will be right here in the Southland, in the great city of Inglewood, I promise you it will be worth the wait."

Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol said its officers will be monitoring freeways for impaired drivers this weekend.

According to the CHP, four people were killed and 120 were injured on Super Bowl Sunday in 2020. The agency said it arrested more than 300 people on suspicion of DUI on that day last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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