Football fans flooded the streets of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to celebrate the University of Alabama’s championship win against Ohio State University on Monday night, despite increasing Covid-19 cases in Alabama as well as neighboring states.
In videos circulating on social media, crowds of people — including many without masks — spilled onto the Tuscaloosa Strip, an area known for its bars and nightlife, chanting victory songs to mark another national title for the Crimson Tide.
One video shows a man climbing the exterior of a CVS Pharmacy as other fans are mounted on surrounding trees, flouting calls from the University of Alabama to resist the urge to celebrate in public.
Alabama football fans were commemorating their 52-24 victory after players scored the final touchdown in Miami.
Alabama public health guidelines mandate people to wear a mask within 6 feet of another person. Alabama has a total of 404,000 Covid-19 infections and has recorded 5,347 deaths as of Monday.
Marking the end of a college football season during the pandemic, the Hard Rock stadium in Miami was at under 25 percent capacity; approximately 15,000 fans saw Alabama take their sixth national championship in the last 12 years.
With close to 1.5 million reported Covid-19 cases, Florida is experiencing a sharp surge of infections in recent weeks. The state’s Covid-19 cases are up 43 percent in the last two weeks with the death toll at 23,424 as of Monday, according to the Florida Department of Health. In the past, Florida has struggled with its pandemic response, facing ICU bed shortages and hospitals reaching maximum capacity in the summer.
In the lead-up to the game, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said that celebrations should be limited, warning Alabamans in a video he tweeted last Friday: “We can’t have block parties this year. There will be a time and place to celebrate but this is not the time.”