(CBS Local)- The NFL announced Friday its plans for attendance at this year’s Super Bowl LV, set to be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on February 7. As the COVID pandemic continues to ensnare the country in its grasp, the league will be honoring 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers by providing free tickets to the game as a thank-you for their service.
The news was first announced in a segment on Friday morning’s edition of CBS This Morning:
First on @CBSThisMorning: The @NFL is inviting 7,500 healthcare heroes to attend Super Bowl 55.@nflcommish surprised medical staff at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Each NFL team will pick 4 vaccinated healthcare workers from their hometowns to attend.#SB55 airs Feb. 7 on @CBS. pic.twitter.com/Ire5Skj0kP
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 22, 2021
The majority of those approximately 7,500 healthcare workers will come from hospitals and health care systems in the Tampa and central Florida area. In addition, all 32 clubs will select vaccinated healthcare workers from their communities to attend the Super Bowl.
During the course of the game, there will be various moments both in stadium and on the CBS broadcast to recognize the work that these healthcare workers have done.
“These dedicated health care workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude,” said Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes. This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings.”
In addition to the healthcare workers, the league says that there will be 14,500 fans in attendance at the game, putting the total number at about 22,000. The league says that it had discussions with the CDC, local health officials, the Florida Department of Health and area hospitals and health care systems.
Those discussions produced protocols for gameday that include: mandatory mask-wearing, social-distancing, podded seating, touchless in-stadium experiences at concessions, restrooms, and security checkpoints, as well as controlled entry and egress.
“We are grateful for the leadership the NFL has shown in thanking our health care workers and promoting vaccine acceptance around Super Bowl LV. I applaud them for making safety their top priority, and for taking a thoughtful approach to make sure that the Super Bowl will be a safe and meaningful experience for fans and the Tampa Bay community,” said Florida state Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees in a statement.
Super Bowl LV is set for Sunday February 7 with kickoff at 6:30 p.m. EST. CBS will have seven hours worth of pregame coverage leading up to the game airing over the air and on its various streaming platforms.