This Sunday, Super Bowl LVI will be held at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. With mask and proof of vaccination mandates in place for the game on Sunday, several SoFi Stadium employees spoke to the Globe on Thursday, raising questions about if mask compliance is even possible.
“Right now there are several [mandates] in place,” Jose, a SoFi Stadium worker who wished to remain anonymous, told the Globe Thursday. “You’ll need proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result to come in if over the age of 5, and this one shouldn’t be too bad. Just like going through security to any event, although this is the Super Bowl so it will be more rigorous come Sunday, there will be people checking for it. You need tickets to get in. You can’t get your tickets checked until you get passed security. And you won’t get to security unless you are vaccinated or get a test. Plus there will be masks available for those that don’t have them. That’s not the worrying mandate.”
“What is worrying is the mask requirement.”
While the statewide mask requirement is to be mostly withdrawn on February 15th, it is still very much in effect for the Super Bowl “Mega Event” on Sunday, with LA County having a requirement in place as well. However, many outlets are questioning to as how strongly it will be enforced. And with many prominent lawmakers, such as Governor Gavin Newsom and most fans in the stands defying the mandate at a playoff game two weeks ago, compliance will be difficult, if not impossible for the game on Sunday.
“Mandate says that you have to wear a mask unless you are actively eating or drinking,” continued Jose. “But, this is ridiculous. Look at the fan shots from the Rams-49ers game a few weeks ago. Almost no one was wearing masks. And if you’ve gone to a game, or big event, or something with a lot of people in the past year, you know how many people don’t follow that rule and you know how many employees won’t really enforce it.”
“The thing is all eyes are on LA Sunday. Because of the mask thing last time that kind of embarrassed everyone, the question now is how closely should we enforce it. There will be 70,000 fans there Sunday, plus thousands more entertainers, athletes, team personnel, journalists and others in the Stadium. There is no way we’ll be in compliance for masking. Not even close to it.”
Mask non-compliance at the Super Bowl
Another employee, Harriet, added that, if compared to games in the last several weeks, non-compliance will be everywhere.
“Honestly, I’d say it was about half and half for some games,” said Harriet. “I’m food service and it seemed like every other person in line partially removed their mask, had it off while just talking, or plain not wearing one at all. It’s going to be the same on Sunday, especially with so many people coming from out of town from places that don’t have as many restrictions. And that’s just the food lines.”
“We’d have to have so many people working here walking around, going up and down aisles, going through the luxury and press boxes, it would just be a nightmare.”
While many lawmakers in the state have taken note of the fact that compliance would be difficult and that surrounding issues, such as a state of emergency coinciding with a major event like the Super Bowl, seems contradictory, officials have said that the game will go on with restrictions in force.
“California is hosting the Super Bowl this weekend during a state of emergency,” said Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) on Thursday. “It might be the greatest absurdity in this state’s history. You see other countries, and other states in this country, have ended their emergencies and ended their mandates and restrictions and it’s well past time that we do that in California and let citizens get on with lives.”
Mandate measures are expected to remain in place for the game between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
California Democrats just voted to continue the State of Emergency even as we host the Super Bowl. pic.twitter.com/egFMTi1TeA
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) February 10, 2022