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Football fans begin to tailgate around Raymond James Stadium on the eve of the Super Bowl  

Football fans had already begun the tailgating party on Saturday night as they gathered outside of Raymond James Stadium and camped out ahead of Super Bowl LV.

Videos posted to social media showed RVs and tents set up as music blared from around 9pm on Saturday night.

Groups of people were filmed gathered around fire pits and set up to celebrate with less than 24 hours to go until the game.

Earlier in the night, a firework show with a pirate theme had continued the celebrations that began on Friday night with a party hosted by rapper 50 Cent.

Fireworks and lasers erupted from a pirate ship anchored in the Hillsborough River in tribute to the hometown heroes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Pictures posted to social media showed crowds gathered on boats to watch the show or packed together on the Riverwalk, many of whom weren’t wearing masks despite the city’s mandate.

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Fans walk along riverwalk in preparation for the Super Bowl on Saturday night, with many not wearing masks

Onlookers take videos from cell phones during a fireworks display in preparation for Super Bowl LV in Tampa

Onlookers take videos from cell phones during a fireworks display in preparation for Super Bowl LV in Tampa

General view of a fireworks display from downtown Tampa on Saturday night ahead of the Super Bowl

General view of a fireworks display from downtown Tampa on Saturday night ahead of the Super Bowl

Locals party in the SoHo district on Tampa on Saturday in celebration of the Super Bowl LIV

Locals party in the SoHo district on Tampa on Saturday in celebration of the Super Bowl LIV

A fan waves a Kansas City Chiefs flag during a fireworks display in Tampa on the eve of the Super Bowl

A fan waves a Kansas City Chiefs flag during a fireworks display in Tampa on the eve of the Super Bowl

As night fell, bars and restaurants were also packed with football fans, drinking and partying with no masks or social distancing. Beer tents set up outside several bars were also packed with maskless fans, as pictured

As night fell, bars and restaurants were also packed with football fans, drinking and partying with no masks or social distancing. Beer tents set up outside several bars were also packed with maskless fans, as pictured

On Saturday night, Tampa was packed with football fans beginning the Super Bowl celebrations

On Saturday night, Tampa was packed with football fans beginning the Super Bowl celebrations

The party began earlier on Saturday night as locals set up for the following day

The party began earlier on Saturday night as locals set up for the following day

A fireworks and laser light show takes place over the replica of a pirate ship in the Hillsborough River

A fireworks and laser light show takes place over the replica of a pirate ship in the Hillsborough River

Video posted to social media showed the start of the tailgating in Tampa ahead of the Super Bowl

Video posted to social media showed the start of the tailgating in Tampa ahead of the Super Bowl

Crowds had already begun to party, many of them maskless, around the stadium on Saturday night

Crowds had already begun to party, many of them maskless, around the stadium on Saturday night

As jovial football fans crowded the streets and bars of Tampa on Saturday with hours to go until Super Bowl LV, hundreds were walking without face coverings through areas where the mayor has issued a mask mandate to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Until this weekend, fans attending the Super Bowl LV Experience theme park along the Tampa Riverwalk have mostly been able to stay socially distant and largely appeared to comply with the mask mandate.

But as Friday ushered in a weekend typically marked by nationwide partying, more fans milled along the narrow Riverwalk in Super Bowl LV’s humid host city, some carrying drinks and bumping shoulders as they passed, and many lowering their masks or skipping them altogether.

On Saturday, masks were completely avoided by many people waiting to enter the Super Bowl Experience Center. 

A laser show reflects off of the water below the Super Bowl LV logo that stands on the Pirate Ship Jose Gasparill

A laser show reflects off of the water below the Super Bowl LV logo that stands on the Pirate Ship Jose Gasparill

People walk through Ybor City  before the Super Bowl LV game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

People walk through Ybor City  before the Super Bowl LV game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

General view of signs on a building during festivities in preparation for Super Bowl

General view of signs on a building during festivities in preparation for Super Bowl

Onlookers take videos from cell phones during a fireworks display in Tampa on Saturday night

Onlookers take videos from cell phones during a fireworks display in Tampa on Saturday night

A fan looks on during a fireworks display that was launched from the Hillsborough River in Tampa

A fan looks on during a fireworks display that was launched from the Hillsborough River in Tampa

General view of a fireworks display from downtown Tampa on the eve of the Super Bowl

General view of a fireworks display from downtown Tampa on the eve of the Super Bowl

Crowds of football fans jammed into beer tents on Saturday night as they began the Super Bowl celebrations

Crowds of football fans jammed into beer tents on Saturday night as they began the Super Bowl celebrations

Locals and football fans who had flown in for the Super Bowl celebrated on Saturday night

Locals and football fans who had flown in for the Super Bowl celebrated on Saturday night

Fireworks explode over the Super Bowl LV logo that stands on the Pirate Ship Jose Gasparilla ahead of Super Bowl LV in Tampa

Fireworks explode over the Super Bowl LV logo that stands on the Pirate Ship Jose Gasparilla ahead of Super Bowl LV in Tampa

General view of a sand sculpture along riverwalk during festivities in preparation for Super Bowl

General view of a sand sculpture along riverwalk during festivities in preparation for Super Bowl

Footage captured by DailyMail.com showed the line crammed together with no social distancing. 

As night fell, bars and restaurants were also packed with football fans, drinking and partying with no masks or social distancing. 

Beer tents set up outside several bars were also packed with maskless fans. 

‘I’m surprised that there are so many that are not wearing masks,’ said Sara Hannigan, a 58-year-old Clearwater, Florida resident who was wearing a Green Bay Packers mask on top of a surgical mask as she walked by a busy row of food vendors.

‘It’s up to them. I’m taking care of myself,’ Hannigan said, adding that she had not seen any enforcement besides a few people handing out free masks. ‘If they don’t want to, I just stay away.’

People walk through Ybor City before the Super Bowl LV game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

People walk through Ybor City before the Super Bowl LV game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Not all fans were wearing face coverings or masks despite the mayor's mandate ahead of the game

Not all fans were wearing face coverings or masks despite the mayor’s mandate ahead of the game

People wait in line to enter a nightclub in Ybor City in Tampa on Saturday night

People wait in line to enter a nightclub in Ybor City in Tampa on Saturday night

People walk through Ybor City with no masks as the Super Bowl celebrations began on Saturday

People walk through Ybor City with no masks as the Super Bowl celebrations began on Saturday

Football fans were dressed up for the celebrations but not all wearing masks as they arrived in Tampa on Saturday

Football fans were dressed up for the celebrations but not all wearing masks as they arrived in Tampa on Saturday

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor issued a mask mandate last month along the Tampa Riverwalk and around other popular destinations, which carried the possible penalty of a $500 fine for violators, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

‘We need everyone to take personal responsibility to keep themselves, other fans and our Tampa Bay community safe,’ Castor said in a statement on January 28.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan told Reuters last week that he did not anticipate his officers would enforce COVID-19 measures other than reminding people to social distance.

‘We really don´t want to get into being the mask police,’ Dugan said.

Football fans gather at the Tampa Bay Harbour before the Super Bowl between Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Football fans gather at the Tampa Bay Harbour before the Super Bowl between Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

People sit at an outdoor terrace outside the Tampa Convention Center a day before the Super Bowl as the party began

People sit at an outdoor terrace outside the Tampa Convention Center a day before the Super Bowl as the party began

Party goers attend the 'Pretty Girl Takeover Super Bowl Day Party' in Tampa

Party goers attend the ‘Pretty Girl Takeover Super Bowl Day Party’ in Tampa

Several parties launched the celebrations on Saturday afternoon including the 'Pretty Girl Takeover Super Bowl Day Party'

Several parties launched the celebrations on Saturday afternoon including the ‘Pretty Girl Takeover Super Bowl Day Party’

Diamond performs during the Pretty Girl Takeover Super Bowl Day Party in Tampa

Diamond performs during the Pretty Girl Takeover Super Bowl Day Party in Tampa

Kharisma WithaK performs during the 'Pretty Girl Takeover Super Bowl Day Party' in Tampa on Saturday

Kharisma WithaK performs during the ‘Pretty Girl Takeover Super Bowl Day Party’ in Tampa on Saturday

Boaters pass by the Super Bowl LV Fan Experience on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk with a Buccaneers flag

Boaters pass by the Super Bowl LV Fan Experience on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk with a Buccaneers flag

Despite the mask mandate, not all football fans were seen wearing masks as they walked through the Fan Experience

Despite the mask mandate, not all football fans were seen wearing masks as they walked through the Fan Experience

Patrons walk on the Super Bowl LV Fan Experience on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk on Saturday afternoon

Patrons walk on the Super Bowl LV Fan Experience on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk on Saturday afternoon

While the Super Bowl’s usual series of celebrity parties is muted this year in Tampa due to the pandemic, a party hosted by rapper 50 Cent on Friday night drew consternation from the mayor of nearby St. Petersburg Florida after the celebrity news site TMZ published photos of maskless attendees shoulder-to-shoulder.

‘This isn’t how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl. It’s not safe or smart. It’s stupid. We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent,’ Mayor Rick Kriseman said on Twitter on Saturday.

The Tampa Police issued a statement on Saturday following reports of Friday night parties that violated COVID-19 protocols, saying the lack of compliance at some entertainment venues was ‘incredibly disappointing.’

On the Riverwalk on Saturday afternoon, three volunteers from the City of Tampa Mayor’s Youth Corps were offering free masks to hundreds of pedestrians wearing football jerseys, many of them eating and drinking as they walked.

The volunteers said they had found some eager recipients, but some passersby had laughed at their group’s effort or commented that they were outside and therefore did not need a mask.

‘People have the mindset where, if I’m outside, I don’t need one,’ said the youth corps’ 17-year-old Gabrielle Jones.

Kansas City Chiefs fans who had flown into Tampa ahead of the Super Bowl celebrate on the Riverwalk

Kansas City Chiefs fans who had flown into Tampa ahead of the Super Bowl celebrate on the Riverwalk

Boaters pass by the Super Bowl LV Fan Experience on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk as they party on Saturday

Boaters pass by the Super Bowl LV Fan Experience on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk as they party on Saturday

Signs ask patrons to take precautions outside the Super Bowl LV Fan Experience on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk

Signs ask patrons to take precautions outside the Super Bowl LV Fan Experience on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk

Boaters pass by the Super Bowl LV Fan Experience on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk on Saturday

Boaters pass by the Super Bowl LV Fan Experience on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk on Saturday

Fans take a selfie in front of a Super Bowl sign during festivities in preparation for Super Bowl

Fans take a selfie in front of a Super Bowl sign during festivities in preparation for Super Bowl

Fans gather at the Tampa Bay Harbour before the Super Bowl match between Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fans gather at the Tampa Bay Harbour before the Super Bowl match between Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The nation’s top health officials sounded the alarm this week about the Super Bowl being a potential superspreader event, and they urged people to gather with friends over Zoom, not in crowds.

‘I’m worried about Super Bowl Sunday, quite honestly. People gather, they watch games together. We´ve seen outbreaks already from football parties,’ said Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

‘So, I really do think that we need to watch this and be careful.’

The Super Bowl comes as the nation sees a dramatic drop in new virus cases – a sign that the infection spike from holiday gatherings is easing. 

The virus has killed more than 459,000 people in the U.S., but the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases went from 180,489 as of January 22 to 125,854 as of Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Nephew, Flo Rida, Flava Flav, Oya Baby and guest at The Super Glow Super Bowl Kick off party on Friday

Nephew, Flo Rida, Flava Flav, Oya Baby and guest at The Super Glow Super Bowl Kick off party on Friday

Melody Robles and Flava Flav at the Super Glow Super Bowl Kick off party on Friday

Melody Robles and Flava Flav at the Super Glow Super Bowl Kick off party on Friday


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