INGLEWOOD (CNS) – Plans are moving forward for the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, the NFL and a top state health official said today, despite rising COVID-19 infections that have forced the delay or adjustment of various public events and Hollywood awards shows.
State Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly told reporters the state and Los Angeles County are both in touch with the NFL as part of the planning process to ensure steps are taken to prevent rapid virus spread associated with the Feb. 13 game.
“The Super Bowl represents people coming not just from California, Los Angeles, but from far and wide to multiple events,” Ghaly said. “And we are working — I know L.A. County is closely in contact with the NFL to make sure that strategies are put in place to ensure that people can enjoy this important event, while making sure that we put things in place that allow COVID mitigation to be an important feature of the approach to that game that is just over a month away.”
He later added, “The Super Bowl is coming to L.A. I think Californians are excited to see that event occur. The work is to make sure that as it is moving forward … that mitigation strategy that create safety around that event are in place, and (I’m) looking forward to a number of folks working to make sure that is there.”
Questions about the fate of the Super Bowl have arisen in recent weeks with the rapid increase in COVID-19 infections — driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus. Earlier Wednesday, the Grammy Awards announced a postponement of its Jan. 31 ceremony. The Critics Choice Awards were previously postponed and both USC and UCLA have announced restricted attendance at indoor sporting events.
But Ghaly noted that Gov. Gavin Newsom has said there are no immediate plans to institute more widespread business lockdowns or other measures that defined the early days of the pandemic. Among those measures were bans on fans attending sporting events, a restriction that prompted last year’s Rose Bowl Game to be held in Texas.
WFAA-TV in Arlington, Texas, reported Wednesday that the NFL had reached out to officials at AT&T Stadium — home of the Dallas Cowboys — about the venue’s availability as a possible alternate Super Bowl location.
In a statement to media outlets, an NFL spokesman insisted that such inquiries are done every year as a contingency in case a last-minute need arises to relocate the Super Bowl.
“We plan on playing Super Bowl LVI as scheduled at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13,” Brian McCarthy said in the statement.
“As part of our standard contingency planning process that we conduct for all regular and postseason games, we have contacted several clubs to inquire about stadium availability in the event we cannot play the Super Bowl as scheduled due to weather-related issues or unforeseen circumstances. Our planning process for the Super Bowl in Los Angeles is ahead of schedule and we look forward to hosting the Super Bowl there to culminate another fantastic NFL season for our fans and clubs.”