Area establishments balancing Super Bowl crowds with COVID-19 mandates as big game arrives

Strike teams preparing for the big game
Strike teams preparing for the big game

ORLANDO, Fla. – Many downtown Orlando restaurant and bar owners said they’re prepping now and they welcome Sunday’s possible crowds to watch Super Bowl LV in Tampa.

But they’re also quite aware it’s a balance between possibly getting more business, but also abiding by the COVID-19 mandates.

“I feel like it’s going to be a Florida team, so it’s going to be more busy,” said Taylor Michalak, who works at Harry Buffalo in downtown Orlando.

Michalak said after a slower 2020, Sunday’s crowd could bring more business, but they’re also focused on safety, including limiting capacity.

“We have hand sanitizer on the table, everyone will be wearing a mask, social distancing as well, following the guidelines,” she said.

Ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl game, owner Tim Green at 534 Scratch Kitchen in Parramore is prepping now.

“The game is going to be on every TV we have. We probably have over 20 TVs,” Green said. “Every other seat, every other seat, hand sanitizer.”

Green showed News 6 how he’s making sure the crowds he could see for Sunday’s game will have a good time, but also are safe.

“I’ve got my staff. They’re actually having a meeting now about safety, social distancing. Everyone is going to have on a mask, so we’re getting prepared,” Green said.

He said his four-room restaurant, bar and lounge, only a block away from downtown Orlando, will again be at limited capacity Sunday.

This coming as Orange County leaders said strike teams will be out all weekend unannounced to make sure businesses are enforcing the COVID-19 restrictions.

“We have multiple rooms, and this very room we’re in can fit about 50 people safely,” Green said.

Mayor Jerry Demings said just last weekend, four bars were cited for not complying.

“Patrons were not wearing masks and there was no social distancing,” Demings said.

Michalak said that won’t be an issue at Harry Buffalo.

“We will for sure follow all of the guidelines that we need to do,” she said.

Orange County leaders said it’s important to note 99% of businesses visited have been in compliance.

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