Throngs of maskless fans celebrate Tampa’s Super Bowl win

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Fans cheer during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

TAMPA, Fla. – So much for the mayor's order requiring masks at Super Bowl parties. Videos went viral on social media, showing throngs of mostly maskless fans and packed sports bars as the clock inside Raymond James Stadium ticked down on a hometown Super Bowl win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It is a little frustrating because we have worked so hard,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said during an early Monday morning news conference with the Super Bowl Host Committee. “At this point in dealing with COVID-19, there is a level of frustration when you see that.”

Some 200,000 masks were handed out ahead of the game, and “a majority” of people and businesses followed the rules, she said.

Hours later, during another news conference, Castor’s remarks shifted, saying that at least among those people that she saw celebrating, most of them were masked.

“I’m proud to say the majority of individuals that I saw out and about enjoying the festivities associated with the Super Bowl were complying,” she said. “They understood their level of personal responsibility and they were doing the right thing. I’m very proud of that.”

Even the White House weighed in.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about whether President Joe Biden was concerned over Tampa fans taking to the streets following the Buccaneers Super Bowl.

“He is of course concerned when there are pictures and photos - we all are - that show many, many people without masks in close distance with one another at the height of a pandemic," she said.