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Pandemic slows down Super Bowl watch parties

super bowl state street 2021
Blake DeVine / NC3

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Super Bowl Sunday usually means that State Street is filled with football fans, but this year that wasn't the case because of the coronavirus.

Local health experts don’t want this Super Bowl Sunday to become a super spreader Sunday, so many downtown sports bars are taking extra steps to ensure everyone stays safe.

The county's current health order only allows outdoor dining which cuts down capacity and definitely puts a damper on this exciting day.

Bars without outdoor televisions were forced to call an audible this year,
and some, like Institution Ale, even closed before the big game began.

However, most people we spoke to showed up an hour before kickoff in order to save a seat.

Dan Bahan, owner of O'Malley's Bar said, "I'm happy to be working to tell you the truth, I’m happy to be outdoors, happy to be doing something other than stressing about your bills."

"You have people, wearing masks, you have people drinking still. we’re following all COVID rules of course, just gives you a sense that the world is still moving,” said Football fan Thomas Salgado.

After a seven-week shutdown during the stay-at-home order, these sports bars are hoping for a big boost in business from Sunday's event.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.


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