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Super Bowl LV Security Team Outlines Health And Safety Plans

Photo: Michael McPherson, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Cathy Lanier, NFL Chief Security Officer, and David Pekoske, Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, give a press conference about health and safety at the Super Bowl LV in Tampa On Sunday, Feb. 7. Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Madia

Super Bowl LV safety plans have been in the works for almost two years – well before the pandemic started.

The event has almost the highest security rating – just below the one for the presidential inauguration.

Cathy Lanier, Chief Security Officer for the National Football League, said there are currently no credible threats at the moment, but that the security rating allows for more resources to be available if needed.

More than 500 Department of Homeland Security Officers and more than 300 FBI agents have teamed up with about 70 state and local partners to secure the event.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said the goal is to have a fan-friendly experience that is safe for everyone.

“The hope is come Monday morning we’re celebrating a Bucs victory and no one knows who the chief of police is in the city of Tampa.”

Dugan added the city will have more code enforcement officials roaming about to make sure bars and restaurants are all following mask ordinances and social distancing requirements.

Local agencies are also keeping an eye out for any signs of human trafficking, an issue they fight daily in Florida – a state that logs the third most calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Federal security officials, meanwhile, are focusing on larger scale threats – especially violent domestic extremism.

Michael McPherson of the FBI said while there have been no credible threats so far, the Super Bowl is an attractive target.

Surveillance, he said, includes scouring chatter on social media.

“Terrorism moves at the speed of social media, and that is both on the international and the domestic front.”

McPherson said privacy controls and encrypted apps like Signal make their work difficult. So he urges the public to keep an eye out and report any suspicious behavior.

There are several restrictions for the day of the game, including a ban on drone use in and around Raymond James Stadium.

Here are some things fans can expect to see in and around the stadium on the day of the event:

  • Parking at Raymond James Stadium will open at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Gates will open at 2:30 p.m.
  • Tailgating is not permitted.
  • Tickets will be touchless through the NFL OnePass app. Ticket holders are strongly encouraged to download tickets before leaving home.
  • Masks must be worn from the time you leave your car, and can only be taken off inside the stadium to eat and drink.
  • Ticket holders will be given safety kits with kn95 masks and hand sanitizer when they enter the stadium.
  • There will be hand sanitizing stations every few feet inside the stadium.
  • Seating is arranged in pods, so that ticket holders who purchased tickets together and families can stay seated in one spot, socially distanced from other fans.
  • The area in and around the stadium – including the Tampa Riverwalk – will have flight restrictions, which includes the banning of drones.

You can find more information on NFL health and safety here.

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