TAMPA -- The National Football League is inviting about 7500 vaccinated health care workers to Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium, offering them free tickets to the February 7th championship game to honor them for their service during the pandemic.
Most of those workers will come from hospitals around the Tampa Bay and Central Florida areas. In fact, Commissioner Roger Goodell crashed a Zoom meeting for staff at Sarasota Memorial Hospital to make the announcement. "You're the first ones to get that offer... we can't thank you enough, and we hope that this... will be a small way to celebrate you, honor you, and most importantly thank you," Goodell said.
All of the NFL's 32 teams will select health care workers from their communities to attend the Super Bowl. All workers will have gotten two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The NFL says this followed discussions with the CDC and the Florida Department of Health, as well as local hospitals, on how to host fans in a safe and responsible way. There will be 14,500 other fans in attendance.
The league also released these quotes from local officials:
"Florida is proud to host Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to crown the champion of an unprecedented NFL season. On behalf of Floridians and football fans across the nation, I'd like to thank the many men and women who worked hard to make this game a reality, especially our frontline health care workers who have worked tirelessly over the past year to keep people safe. I look forward to the positive impact this game will have on the Tampa Bay area, and my family and I can't wait for the big game!" – Florida Governor RON DESANTIS
"We are grateful for the leadership the NFL has shown in thanking our health care workers and promoting vaccine acceptance around Super Bowl LV. I applaud them for making safety their top priority, and for taking a thoughtful approach to make sure that the Super Bowl will be a safe and meaningful experience for fans and the Tampa Bay community." – State Surgeon General DR. SCOTT RIVKEES
"I cannot think of a greater stage than Super Bowl LV to honor our healthcare professionals. On behalf of Tampa Bay, I thank the NFL for their commitment to recognize our local heroes for their tireless efforts and dedication to help us get through this pandemic." –KEN HAGAN, Hillsborough County Commissioner
"Our local healthcare workers have worked around the clock to ensure the health and safety of our community and I cannot think of a better way to honor them than with the eyes of the world on our hometown for Super Bowl LV. Our country has endured so much over the last year and we can't lose sight of those who worked day in and day out to keep us safe. Thank you to the NFL for helping make this happen." – Mayor JANE CASTOR, City of Tampa
"While this was already shaping up to be the most meaningful Super Bowl in our hometown's history, the NFL deciding to welcome and honor our local vaccinated healthcare workers to Super Bowl LV takes the importance of the event to an all new level. The unsolicited outpouring of appreciation that we've received in support of this initiative from our local healthcare workers across the community has been truly amazing. These heroes inspire us every day, so we couldn't be more thankful to the NFL for working to safely create this monumental effort to celebrate them." –DERRICK BROOKS and WILL WEATHERFORD, Co-Chairs, Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee.
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