County of Marin - News Releases - Social Gatherings

For Immediate Release
February 04, 2021

Hold the Line on Super Bowl Sunday

Health officials concerned about reversing pandemic progress

San Rafael, CA – Marin County Public Health is urging residents to make a goal line defensive stand against COVID-19 and not gather to watch this Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Whether a fan is cheering for the Chiefs, the Buccaneers, the halftime entertainers, or just the commercials, everyone needs to root hardest for each other’s health.

Dr. Matthew Willis, the County's Public Health Officer, speaks at an RxSafe Marin conference.Dr. Matt Willis, the County's Public Health Officer, said Marin residents should not let Super Bowl gatherings reverse local progress on COVID-19 rates.
Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s Public Health Officer, can point to data showing surges in coronavirus cases after major holidays over the past year. Local case rates have been steadily declining in recent weeks. Since mid-January the County continues to move toward less-restrictive policies in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, shifting from the regional stay-home order into the less-restrictive purple tier on January 25. If numbers continue to improve, the county may achieve the red tier as early as next week.

“I hope we’ve learned from our past holiday surges that reopening safely is in our hands,” Willis said. “This is one year when I’m less sad none of our local teams made it that far. Let’s not let Super Bowl gatherings reverse our progress.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded more than 976,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past week, and that weekly figure tends to spike around times of holidays and traditional gatherings. Contact tracing has proved that gatherings continue to fuel the virus’ spread both locally and nationwide.

Avoiding large gatherings, especially indoors, is the best way to prevent additional surges, Willis said.

Dr. Laura Eberhard, Chief of Intensive Card at Kaiser Permanente San Rafael, said: “We are grateful to the residents of our county for changing behaviors and making the sacrifices that have led to the easing of COVID-19 in Marin County. If we continue this level of vigilance around social gatherings, we can look forward to a further decrease in serious illness and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 infection in our community.”

Small private gatherings are allowed in Marin again, but only outdoors and with the following restrictions:

  • Masks and physical distancing are required
  • No more than three separate households should attend (including the host’s)
  • Gatherings should be two hours or less
  • Those with COVID-19 symptoms must not attend
  • Those at high risk of severe illness strongly encouraged not to attend
  • Singing, shouting, chanting, or cheering strongly discouraged

“We are working as quickly as we can to vaccinate local residents, though supply shortages are making it a long process,” Willis said. “While 13% of Marin residents have received at least one dose, we still have a long way to go until we can rely on the vaccine to protect us from surges.”

Those intent on hosting a small gathering should take steps to move the party outdoors to lessen the chances of COVID-19 transmission. Hosts can temporarily move a TV outside if the weather is good or set up a projector screen so fans can sit outside. No matter the set-up, sit at least six feet away from people who don’t live in your own household, wear a face covering, wash hands often, and use sanitizer if hand washing isn’t an immediate option.

Here are some other safe ways to host a virtual Super Bowl watch party (more recommendations are on the CDC website):

  • Start a text group or an online video session with other fans to chat about the game while watching.
  • Wear clothing or decorate your home with your favorite team’s logo or colors.
  • Make appetizers or snacks with the people you live with to enjoy while watching the game and share the recipes with your friends and family.

Learn more about on Marin County Public Health’s COVID-19 webpages.


Laine Hendricks
Public Information Officer
County Administrator's Office

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite #325
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7496
Email: Laine Hendricks
County Administrator website