Many celebrities, fans ignored mask mandate at Super Bowl

"We were a little bit disappointed people didn't wear their masks," said Inglewood Mayor James Butts.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Despite mandate, many fans enjoyed Super Bowl without a mask
From Mayor Eric Garcetti to LeBron James to Matt Damon, many celebrities and other fans were seen without masks at the Super Bowl, despite a mandate from Los Angeles County.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Every fan who attended Sunday's Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium was given a KN95 mask as face coverings are still mandated by the county at large outdoor events, but it looks like many fans didn't quite follow the rule.

The vast majority of people appeared to have ditched their masks during the game.

The broadcast captured many celebrities without a face mask, including Jay-Z, Matt Damon, LeBron James, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.

ABC News teams inside the stadium said they did not see any mask enforcement.

Two weeks ago, the vast majority of fans attending the NFC championship game at SoFi Stadium between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers were seen on camera ignoring the mandate.

Even Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Magic Johnson, and actor Rob Lowe took some heat for being photographed without masks.

READ ALSO | Garcetti: '0% chance of infection' if he holds breath when removing mask for photo

The lax adherence to the mandate led one county supervisor, Kathryn Barger, to suggest that the mask rule be rescinded, since it apparently wasn't being followed anyway.

But the mask remained in effect for the Super Bowl, and stadium officials insisted they would enforce it. The rule requires masks at all times, except when "actively" eating or drinking. Many people took to Twitter to criticize the lack of enforcement, saying if children are required to wear masks at school, attendees should adhere to the same rules.

"My students all have to wear masks all day [Monday], inside and outside of their classrooms because we are in LA County," wrote one Twitter user. "Same place as the Super Bowl. But not a mask in sight here."

Inglewood Mayor James Butts briefly addressed the controversy during an interview with ABC7 on Monday saying he wished more people would've followed the rules.

"We were a little bit disappointed people didn't wear their masks - most of the time, there were N95 masks on everybody's seat," he said. "However, we had a great event. People had a great time and .... This is a pinnacle for Inglewood. We've come all the way back to the city of champions again."

As was the case during all games at the facility this season, all attendees had to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test to enter the stadium.

Many of the measures have been in effect at SoFi Stadium throughout the season, including:

  • Electrostatic spraying to disinfect horizontal surfaces and common touchpoints.
  • UVC lighting to sanitize the field.
  • Touchless hand sanitizer stations, as well as touchless soap, water, and towel dispensers in the restrooms.

The pandemic has been a constant point of inquiry leading up to the game.

Some critics have questioned the propriety of holding such a major event in a county still in the throes of a pandemic.

Others have scoffed at the need for the mask mandate, citing falling case numbers and the state's plan to lift its indoor mask-wearing requirement this week.

The number of COVID-positive hospital patients continues to plunge in L.A. County, declining by 125 people to 2,086 on Monday, according to the latest state figures. The number of those patients in intensive care was 439 on Sunday, down from 461 a day earlier.

Hospitalizations had climbed to over 4,800 in mid-January at the height of the omicron-fueled winter surge in cases.

Under guidelines announced this month by county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, if the hospitalization number stays below 2,500 for seven consecutive days, the county will consider itself to be entering a "post-surge'' phase, and will lift its mask mandate for outdoor "mega-events'' and outdoors at schools and childcare centers.

Saturday marked the third day of sub-2,500 hospitalizations.

Ferrer said last week that absent a sudden increase in hospitalizations, the outdoor mask mandate could be lifted as early as Wednesday.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.