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Balancing a big win and big health concerns, Tampa weighs a Bucs parade amid COVID-19

A celebration announcement is expected Tuesday or Wednesday.

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says there absolutely will be a celebration to mark the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ big victory on Sunday night.

But given COVID-19 concerns, it’s not exactly clear yet -- when, where or what that celebration will look like.

“We are title town,” said Mayor Castor.

And so, pandemic or not, the mayor says you don’t win the Super Bowl and not have some sort of super salute.

“We definitely have to celebrate this occasion,” she said.

Still, the mayor says it’s a plan in progress given COVID-19 concerns.

‘We are in talks right now,” said Castor. “So, we are hoping by tomorrow or Wednesday we should have more definitive information.”

One suggestion was to hold the celebration along the Tampa Riverwalk like the city did after the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup.

But, Castor seemed to shy away from that idea.

“That was unique,” said the mayor. “I’m not sure that until we win the Stanley Cup again and again and again that anybody will ever have as unique parade that we had for the Stanley Cup.”

“The city planners tell us this is what we’re doing and then we figure out how to make it happen,” Police Chief Brian Dugan said. “You know, they tell us what the parade route is, and we go from there.”

Whatever the city decides, Chief Dugan says his department is ready to handle it.

But he admits, there is no way officers concerned with traffic control and public safety can also be the mask police.

“We only have so many cops,” said the chief. “And we have to have priorities as to how we deploy them.”

Both Dugan and Castor were asked about concerns raised in the aftermath of the Buccaneers' big win. Thousands of people around the city celebrated the championship without masks and without social distancing.

Those celebrations, said Castor, were spontaneous.

“A planned parade will be a different event,” Castor said.

Look for an announcement soon, the mayor said, as to when, where, and how they plan to celebrate. Likely outdoors, she said, with masks -- mandatory.

“We’re are looking at what will be the best option,” said Castor. “To allow the most individuals to participate in the celebration and do it safely.“

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