Diplo. 50 Cent. Steve Aoki. A pool. It’d be an awesome party, were it not indoors amid a pandemic.
According to TMZ, however, that was the lineup for a pre-Super Bowl bash on Saturday night, as 2,000 people flocked to Tampa’s waterfront Godfrey Hotel before the big game. It was just one of a spate of packed pre-game festivities during Super Bowl weekend, as partygoers defied CDC guidelines against gathering en masse, even as more contagious variants of the are sweeping through the country.
While the Godfrey event’s organizers—Dave Portnoy and Barstool Sports, along with a Miami nightclub—said that “social distancing procedures will be strictly enforced, face masks will be required for all staff & guests,” according to TMZ, many of the attendees were indeed maskless.
The Tampa Police Department told TMZ that “scenes from WTR last night and a few other clubs were incredibly disappointing.”
And Rick Kriseman, the mayor of neighboring St. Petersburg, slammed 50 Cent over Twitter on Sunday.
“This isn’t how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl. It’s not safe or smart. It’s stupid,” Kriseman wrote. “We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 Cent.”
Cringeworthy puns aside, the rapper wasn’t the only big name to perform in Tampa over the weekend. According to Page Six, Migos, Rick Ross, and Tory Lanez all performed at parties this weekend. Lanez, who was charged in October with shooting fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion, himself threw a massive party on Thursday night, according to the Daily Mail.
While the city was expected to see an influx of fans over the weekend—owing to Florida’s lax coronavirus guidelines and the fact that the hometown Buccaneers were playing in the Super Bowl—epidemiologist Jason Salemi told The Daily Beast earlier this week that he wasn’t concerned about the game so much as the hoopla surrounding it.
“People attending the Super Bowl is not what I’m most concerned about,” Salemi, a professor at the city’s University of South Florida, told The Daily Beast. “It’s how those in our community and visitors to our beautiful city decide to celebrate this amazing event. I would absolutely advise against crowded places, close-contact settings, and enclosed spaces.”