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What you need to know for Monday, Jan. 11, 2021

Good morning Tampa Bay and happy Monday!

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. — Good morning Tampa Bay! It's the start of another work week. 

Let's get started with the stories you need to know about. 

COVID-19 varients in Florida 😷 

There are two known COVID-19 variants spreading in the United States, including here in Florida, right now.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Florida has nearly half of the known cases in the U.S. of a mutated and likely more contagious variant of the coronavirus. 

While doctors believe the variant is more contagious, vaccines still offer protection.

RELATED: Doctors think Florida has more COVID-19 variant cases than we know of

RELATED: Florida has nearly half of known US cases of COVID variant

Third time's a charm? 🏈

It's official! The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the New Orleans Saints at 6:40 p.m. Sunday in the NFL's Divisional round.

The Bucs will play on the road, making their way to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Sunday's game will mark the first meeting of the two teams in the postseason. 

The Buccaneers will be looking for redemption in the divisional round as New Orleans handed the team two of their five losses this season.  

RELATED: Buccaneers, Saints face-off in NFC divisional playoff game

RELATED: A brief history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Credit: AP
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady hug after their season opening NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. The Saints won 34-23. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

A change in plans 🏒

The Tampa Bay Lightning will open the season without fans in the stands because of increasing COVID-19 cases.

Its parent company, Vinik Sports Group, said Saturday in a news release that Amalie Arena will be closed to fans through at least Feb. 5. 

The closure affects the Lightning's first game of the season on Wednesday, Jan. 13, against the Chicago Blackhawks. Fans have been allowed to watch the Toronto Raptors play at Amalie, but its future games will be fanless, as well.

RELATED: Lightning won't admit fans to games 'for foreseeable future'

RELATED: Florida coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, deaths, vaccinations and recoveries