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'Exact Opposite Of What We Need To Be Doing': Local Mayors Concerned By Reckless Super Bowl Partying Images In Tampa

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After some wild and reckless celebrations up in Tampa, some local mayors say they're frustrated and concerned.

Overall, they feel as though most situations were under control, but there were some setbacks.

They are trying their best to set straight the message, especially to tourists, that South Florida is not a free-for-all, no matter the occasion.

Super Bowl festivities in Tampa turned from celebratory, to downright concerning.

Images of people packed together, wearing masks around their necks, drinking out of the same bottles of alcohol, as they let their guard down to soak in the winning glory.

"Frankly, I think a lot of that may have been happening here, too, because we're not perfect either, and there are a lot of people who are too fatigued or just don't care, and we have to remember we are still in the middle of a pandemic," said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

Just the other week, they ramped up enforcement in the city.

He said they only had to deal with one major incident, resulting in the temporary closure of Club Exchange. The mayor said they violated the curfew and mask order and were letting people in through a side door to avoid detection.

Gelber said, while the residents seem to be on board with the rules, it is harder with the influx of tourists.

"They come here to celebrate, so there's a natural tension between being a hospitality community and trying to be smart about COVID," he said.

Up in Fort Lauderdale, a viewer sent video of the Wharf, saying it looked much too crowded over the weekend.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said their enforcement did not see a situation extreme enough to shut it down.

"I haven't gotten any emails or complaints. We did have people there. Our staff was there trying to monitor the situation. I have to say the owners of the Wharf were doing their best to comply," he said. "They reduced the number of people that could go in there."

He is concerned, though, that people all over South Florida have become more relaxed

"Unfortunately, with the rollout of the vaccine, it has actually made people more complacent with this virus," Mayor Trantalis said. "That's the exact opposite of what we need to be doing."

Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Aileen Marty said that's a dangerous attitude, especially with these new, more contagious variants spreading. She fears we will see a spike from Super Bowl Sunday.

"People go to places where they are indoors, eating and drinking, and it is not well ventilated, then there is a very high likelihood there will be viral transmission and there will be super spreader events," she said. "Which will lead to an increased number of cases that we will see in 2.5 or 3 weeks from now."

The next thing these leaders turn their attention to is Spring Break.

"We want them to come to our state. We want them to have a good time," said Mayor Trantalis. "But we also want them to be safe, and we can do both."

"If you're coming here to make trouble, then don't come here. We don't want you here," Mayor Gelber.

He said people need to remember the reality of our situation.

"Twenty-eight people died today in Dade County. Twenty-eight people," he said. "Any other day, that's a mass casualty moment. Today, that's just another day. We have to do a better job."

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