California officials say they have no intention of losing Super Bowl LVI despite reports that the NFL is looking into contingency sites amid the city’s coronavirus surge.
The Super Bowl is scheduled to take place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, on Feb. 13. But reports came out Wednesday that other sites, including AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas, were being contacted about their potential availability.
AT&T Stadium, which is home to the Dallas Cowboys, did in fact host the Rose Bowl in 2021, after COVID-19 restrictions forced it to move from Pasadena.
But, at least for now, fans are being told to stay calm and plan on a great Super Bowl, in Los Angeles.
“I’m confident that will happen here, that we’ll be able to have great Super Bowl celebration,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference on the city’s coronavirus situation Thursday.
A day earlier, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly also chimed in with a positive message for Angelenos.
“Let me just be abundantly clear that the Super Bowl is coming to L.A. I think Californians are excited to see that event occur,” Ghaly said.
Ghaly said that officials are committed to making sure the events go forward as planned.
“I know L.A. County is closely in contact with the NFL to make sure that strategies are put in place to ensure that people can enjoy this important event while making sure that we put things in place that allow COVID mitigation to be an important feature of the approach to that game that is just over a month away,” he said.
The NFL also responded, saying that there are currently no plans to move the big game, and all of the contingency plans are just part of normal operating procedure.
“As part of our standard contingency planning process that we conduct for all regular and postseason games, we have contacted several clubs to inquire about stadium availability in the event we cannot play the Super Bowl as scheduled due to weather-related issues or unforeseen circumstances…” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday.
News about the stadium situation came the same day that California announced its indoor mask mandate had been extended through at least Feb. 15, two days beyond the Super Bowl.
The state is currently seeing a rising number of new COVID cases, but Ghaly said that due to vaccines, the situation is better than it was last year.