Ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 7, the CDC has again urged Americans to avoid unnecessary travel, wear face masks and maintain a social distance of at least six feet when sharing space with people from a household other than their own, in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, those rules seem to have gone out the window at parties hosted by 50 Cent, Tory Lanez and Steve Aoki in Florida leading up to Sunday's showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
According to the Daily Mail, rapper Tory Lanez, who's currently facing assault charges related the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion, hosted an event at Tampa's Big Game Beach House on Thursday night where hundreds of fans appeared to have disregarded signs warning that "social distancing and mask guidelines" would be "strictly enforced."
Photos from the outdoor event, which featured a performance from Tory, showed large crowds of people, most of whom were unmasked, jammed up next to each other as they cheered for the rapper.
The next night, 50 Cent hosted a bash at an airplane hanger in St. Petersburg. Photos published by TMZ from the event show crowds of largely unmasked guests celebrating while standing close to one another as the festivities carried on until after midnight.
By Saturday afternoon, Fiddy's throwdown had attracted the attention of St. Petersburg's mayor, Rick Kriseman, who tagged TMZ's report and tweeted, "This isn't how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl. It's not safe or smart. It's stupid."
Steve Aoki has also been implicated as the host of a dangerous party on Friday in Tampa. According to TMZ, the producer and DJ hosted a bash at WTR Tampa Pool inside the Godfrey Waterfront Hotel where guests again eschewed masks and distancing guidelines, and reportedly treated the show like a regular, pre-COVID-19 pandemic concert.
TMZ reported that while spraying broken bottles of bubbly on the crowd, Steve gave "special attention" to a handful of fans by giving each one "a giant gulp of champagne."
The parties in Florida come amid news New Orleans, just a few states away, has canceled all Mardi Gras parades and will mandate the closure of all bars over what would have been the final weekend of Carnival through Fat Tuesday on Feb. 16.
As of Saturday, COVID-19 had killed nearly 461,000 people in America, according to the New York Times.
Data released by the CDC last week indicates the new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus have so far caused more new cases of COVID-19 in Florida than in any other state.