With Super Bowl LVI about three weeks away, Los Angeles County and SoFi Stadium prepare to host the big game with safety in mind, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With California increasing its pandemic economic lockdown measures during a winter surge in 2021, there were fears that the Super Bowl in Los Angeles would be in jeopardy as COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths have all increased since last December.

L.A. Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said there is “no indication” that the Super Bowl will not take place in Los Angeles and a similar stance was relayed by Kathryn Schloessman, president and CEO at Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission.

“We always knew we were going to have it and we always knew we were going to have some kind of health and safety protocols,” Schloessman told L.A. Weekly. “I think we know what we have to do to put on a safe and healthy event. I think everybody knows what the protocols are, they know if it got more serious, what they’d have to ‘up’ the protocols to be.”

L.A. County does have its own COVID-19 protocols for “mega events” in place, including a mask requirement and a requirement for all guests over 5-years-old to show proof of either being fully vaccinated or testing negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of the event.

In addition to those protocols, SoFi Stadium will provide masks for guests who need them.

In June of 2021, California lifted most of the COVID-19 restrictions that had been imposed throughout the pandemic, with one of those being the capacity restrictions for entertainment events.

In SoFi Stadium’s inaugural 2020 season, both the Rams and Chargers had to play in a crowdless environment, a stark contrast to its capacity crowds for 2021 seeing more than 70,000 fans packed into the stadium.

“One of the things that we’re pretty fortunate, is we’ve had over a million people in the building, to-date, between the concerts and the two NFL teams,” Jason Gannon, managing director at SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park told L.A. Weekly. “For a building like this in its first year, it’s almost unheard of… that has helped inform the building and the operations to enhance the overall experience of the fans.”

The Super Bowl weekend is expected to generate between $230 million to $475 million for the local economy in Los Angeles, according to Adam Burke, president and CEO at Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board.

“Historically, Los Angeles has seen visitor spend from all over the world,” Burke told L.A. Weekly. “Because Los Angeles is one of the world’s most diverse communities… this has always been a place where people from around the globe can feel at home. You can’t overstate how critical, not just sports, but all of the things that bring people to L.A. and to our local economy.”

The L.A. Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals Monday to advance to the next round of the playoffs, keeping their hopes alive to play host to the Super Bowl in their own stadium, but regardless of the teams that play, officials around the game feel it will be integral to the city’s “comeback story,” as the pandemic carries into its third year.

“We are very excited to bring people back to Los Angeles,” Schloessman said. “and show them that we can host a healthy and safe event and I think everyone’s going to be excited to come out and support it.”

The Super Bowl game will take place February 13 at 3:30 p.m. PST, live from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.

LA Weekly