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Health Officials Worry Super Bowl Sunday Could Lead To COVID-19 Spread In San Diego

Football flags hang over the entrance of Beachside Bar & Grill in Encinitas, Jan. 3, 2021.
Alexander Nguyen
Football flags hang over the entrance of Beachside Bar & Grill in Encinitas, Jan. 3, 2021.
The Super Bowl is often a time for gathering, but this year health officials warn it could lead to the spread of COVID-19.

Super Bowl Sunday usually means watch parties, celebrations and lots of cheering. But this year, health officials are worried Super Bowl gatherings could lead to another surge of COVID-19 infections.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines on attending celebrations ahead of Sunday. Their top piece of advice: watch the game at home with the people you live with.

Health Officials Worry Super Bowl Sunday Could Lead To COVID-19 Spread In San Diego
Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

California Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, echoed that message.

“Let’s not have the Super Bowl become the next beginning of a huge surge in California,” Ghaly said. “Keep your distance, keep your mask on, try to share as little as you can except the cheers of the game when it's appropriate.”

With the statewide ban on outdoor dining recently lifted, restaurants have started seating customers once again.

In Los Angeles County, restaurants are currently banned from turning on their televisions. San Diego County does not have the same rule. That could result in some large crowds on football’s biggest day.

Union Kitchen & Tap Encinitas general manager Jamie Houtman said his establishment is one of many local restaurants gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday.

“We’ve got 17 TVs. We've got pretty much seating in every possible spot we could,” Houtman said. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen. You don't know if people have already planned their house parties or what not, but hopefully everybody is itching to come out.”

Houtman stressed his establishment’s focus on COVID-19 safety protocols and expanded outdoor dining options, but he also is anxious to get back to working at pre-pandemic levels.

“When you’ve missed out on what is probably millions of dollars in sales and a hell of a lot of profit every single day, every single day counts, which is why everybody scrambled so hard to get open,” Houtman said.

VIDEO: Health Officials Worry Super Bowl Sunday Could Lead To COVID-19 Spread In San Diego

RELATED: Reversal Of California Outdoor Dining Ban Points To Public Health Confusion

For fans who plan to gather away from home, the CDC recommends contacting the venue ahead of time to ensure COVID-19 protocols are being followed, in addition to practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. The same goes for at-home gatherings that involve people who don’t live together.

The NFL is also requiring masks for the 22,000 fans who will be in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for Sunday’s matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.