By ASSOCIATED PRESS – The NFL announced Friday that 7,500 healthcare workers vaccinated for the coronavirus will be given free tickets to next month’s Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also said in a news release that attendance at the Feb. 7 game would be limited to those workers and about 14,500 other fans. Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has a capacity of just under 66,000, according to its website.
Most of the healthcare workers who will get free tickets will come from the Tampa Bay area and central Florida, Goodell said. But he added that all 32 NFL teams will choose some workers from their cities to attend the game.
“These dedicated healthcare workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude,” Goodell said. “We hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes.”
There will also be what Goodell called “a variety of special moments” to honor healthcare workers in the stadium during the game and also on the CBS television broadcast.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said the NFL’s decision is a perfect way to honor healthcare workers at such a high-profile event.
“Our country has endured to much over the last year and we can’t lose sight of those who worked day in and day out to keep us safe,” Castor said in the NFL release.
As with NFL games throughout the season, the Super Bowl will include mandatory wearing of masks, social distancing, touchless concession stands and controlled entry and exits. The NFL has had about 1.2 million fans attend 116 games so far during the regular season and playoffs, Goodell said.