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Planning to watch the Bucs playoffs? Here’s how to do it safely

With Super Bowl fever rising, doctors warn that gathering for a game can be deadly.
Baseball fans gather at Ferg's Sports Bar. With the onset of COVID-19, the bar has put in plastic dividers and customers have preferred the outdoor seating
Baseball fans gather at Ferg's Sports Bar. With the onset of COVID-19, the bar has put in plastic dividers and customers have preferred the outdoor seating [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Jan. 6

When the Bucs play Washington on Saturday in a playoff game that could put them on the road to the Super Bowl in Tampa, fans will want to gather to watch — which public health officials frown on.

But half the fun of watching sports is doing it in a crowd of fans.

At Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill in St. Petersburg, they have installed plastic dividers among the tables to make it easier to distinguish between groups, and has the DJ make frequent announcements to remind people to wear masks when not seated.
At Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill in St. Petersburg, they have installed plastic dividers among the tables to make it easier to distinguish between groups, and has the DJ make frequent announcements to remind people to wear masks when not seated. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

At Ferg’s Sports Bar in St. Petersburg, owner Mark Ferguson has installed plastic dividers among his tables to make it easier to distinguish between groups, and the DJ makes frequent announcements to remind people to wear masks when not seated.

“It’s so good to have sports back,” Ferguson said. “People have something to watch, something to talk about and we can root for Tampa Bay.”

If you want to go out but are worried about crowds, it’s wise to check in beforehand. At the USF hangout Peabody’s in Tampa, a manager said the bar plans to use its cavernous space to make it easier to spread out during the game.

For home parties, the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that activities remain outdoors and that individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. One recommendation is to have one food server so that multiple people aren’t grabbing serving spoons.

But just know that doctors urge you to forego the big football parties.

“Following every event and holiday where people get together,” said Dr. Jay Wolfson, professor of public health at the University of South Florida, “we experience an uptick in cases several weeks later, along with hospitalizations and deaths.”