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Super Bowl Plans a Covid Blitz

It won’t be enough to be vaccinated or test negative if you want to see the big game in person.

This weekend’s football matchups will determine which two teams go to the Super Bowl. Whoever plays in the big game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on February 13 will jog onto the field and look up at an unusual sight: 70,000-plus fans cheering through KN95 masks.

That’s part of the game plan that Los Angeles County and the NFL have come up with to keep fans safe despite the state’s massive Omicron surge in January. In addition to showing proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test, every attendee will receive a KN95 mask that must be worn at all times, except while eating or drinking.

Event professionals will be watching the safety protocols and outcome with interest, as meetings and convention begin (again) to ramp up through 2022. How will fans react to the rules and plans for frequent reminders to wear the masks? Will masks be effective? The stadium has a glass roof but is open to the outdoors on two ends. Fans will be packed in and, undoubtedly, yelling and cheering, which is known to spread the virus.

In addition to its safety protocols, the NFL will use the Super Bowl’s massive popularity to promote vaccinations and Covid testing. When the Los Angeles Convention Center hosts the five-day Super Bowl Experience, a kind of football theme park, every visitor will receive a free take-home Covid test kit and be urged to test before the game. Los Angeles County also plans to set up vaccination sites at the convention center, and anyone who gets a dose will be allowed into the fan event for free.

How can your events be used to promote behaviors that are beneficial to your organization or the world? Well, another NFL effort is to reward fans who leave their cars at home and travel to the convention center by subway. A metro ticket stub will earn the attendee a 50-percent discount on the price of entry to the Super Bowl Experience.

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