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Don’t make Super Bowl a ‘super-spreader,’ Vt. officials warn

Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 5:09 PM EST
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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Governor Phil Scott and state health officials Friday strongly urged sports fans against in-person Super Bowl parties this Sunday, saying it jeopardized the state’s COVID recovery plans.

“Now is not the time to let our guard down,” Gov. Scott said Friday.

“Please stick to your own household. Gathering with anyone you don’t live with increases the chances of spreading COVID-19,” added Vt. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

Health officials say a rapid increase in virus growth took place after Halloween get-togethers and the governor said if parties lead to more infections he’ll be forced to close the economic spigot again.

At restaurants like McGillicuddy’s in Essex Junction, they say they will be open for the Super Bowl if fans want to watch Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady battle it out, but because of COVID restrictions, it will feel similar to any other day.

“We are going to follow all of our capacity guidelines,” said the restaurant’s Mellisa Gaudio. She says they are happy to be open but will be missing the usual bash. “It’s kind of sad. It’s a little different but I think people are making the best of it and appreciating what we have.”

Gaudio says even in a normal world, takeout is their biggest seller on Super Bowl Sunday and they expect that to be even more true this year. “I have been here for seven Super Bowls and it’s historically a big takeout,” she said.

Over at Rozzi’s Lakeshore Tavern in Colchester, Abbey Civil says their bar is usually a destination to watch the game. “Every seat is taken -- all standing room -- it’s obviously pretty crazy,” she said.

COVID rules only allow restaurants to operate at 50% capacity and only people from the same household can be seated together. Seating at the bar is restricted. “Since the beginning of the week we have been booked for Super Bowl because people -- they want to watch the Super Bowl at a bar,” Civil said. She says they are also making sure take-out customers never come inside. “We have a whole set up with a window so that we can make everyone spaced apart and no one is coming in extra to stay at capacity.”

We asked Vermonters about their usual Super Bowl plans Vs. this year. “We usually go to a friend’s house or an in-law’s house and have a bigger gathering with food,” said Miranda Brugger of Fletcher.

“We’d probably be at a neighbors house with numerous people but obviously keeping low key this year,” said Mark Civil of Colchester.

“This year might as well stay home,” said Donnie Smith of Northfield.

“We stay home and watch it,” said Pierre Narcoux of Essex.

In Rutland, health officials Friday made a special plea to stay home. They say they are seeing the most COVID patents they have ever seen, so they’re asking community members to not go to or host Super Bowl parties.

The big game kicks off at 6:30 on Channel 3.

We asked viewers on WCAX.com about their plans. More than 80 percent of those who responded say they’re staying home, about nine percent said they’d be going to or hosting a party and about the same amount said “other.” Zero percent so far said they would be going to a restaurant or bar.

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