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Planning to have people over for the Super Bowl? Here are 4 suggestions from a doctor

If you must, there are safe ways to cheer on your team with a few friends and family.

TAMPA, Fla. — It’s not just the Super Bowl. 

It’s the Super Bowl in Tampa and our Buccaneers playing in it.

All the more reason, probably, to want to get together with people on Sunday to watch history in the making.

But since COVID-19 still poses a serious risk, we asked Dr. Jay Wolfson, a public health specialist at the University of South Florida, for his best advice to keep the party—if you must—safe.

"This is such a great reason to want to celebrate," Wolfson said. "The danger though is complacency, so people just need to be extra careful."

It starts with the stuff we’ve been talking about for months, Wolfson says, which is:

  • Wear a mask when possible
  • Stay spread out from others
  • Keep the gatherings small

“There’s no magic number but the more people who are in a confined area the greater the likelihood that somebody is going to be asymptomatic,” he said.

Here are four more steps he suggests taking to keep your Super Bowl bash COVID safe:

  1. It’s best to keep celebrations outside, but if you are inside, open as many windows and doors as possible to keep air circulating.
  2. If you’re hosting the party, have paper towel on hand for your guests to use instead of hand towels.
  3. Have hand sanitizer – and plenty of it – on hand and set out around the house for people to grab when needed.
  4. If you’re going to have food, avoid having people congregate around it and don’t share utensils.

When it comes to the food, party planning specialist Casey Martinez with Evite also suggests takeout.

“I definitely think the potluck is out this year,” Martinez said. “There’s a lot of restaurants that have been impacted by COVID, and so if you are looking to serve food, maybe offer people individual portions from a local restaurant.”

Or instead of having guests digging into big bowls or potentially dipping – or worse, double-dipping – into shared dips, she’s going for small, individual bags of snacks for her get-together.

Updated guidance published by the CDC suggests bringing your own food and drinks to the party.

Attending large gatherings, like the Super Bowl, increases your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, the guidance says. But if you do gather, it is recommended that you have conversations with the host ahead of time to understand expectations for celebrating together. Similarly, if you're hosting, set those expectations ahead of time with guests.

Ultimately the safest way to watch the Super Bowl is at home with people you live with, the CDC says.

Wolfson says we all know by now what we need to do. The people who have been cautious will continue to be and, likely, the people who haven’t will do as they please. It comes down to common sense, he says.

“People need to be able to enjoy this, we deserve it,” he said. “Let’s make sure that we preserve it, and that we have something afterward that we’re proud of.”

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