Health officials say you should skip Super Bowl gatherings this year

Health officials are urging people to have a safe Super Bowl celebration.

Now that outdoor dining is available again in most areas, restaurants will be serving up fans.

But health experts warn that is not the ideal way to enjoy the game.

Saturday morning the Surgeon General of California issued a public plea to help prevent large gatherings from turning into a post Super Bowl surge.

"Stay home and celebrate your favorite team with only those who live in your house. Don’t gather. Connect with friends virtually and leave seeing them in person celebrations for next year, when it’s safe," said Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, surgeon general of California.

While many restaurants are preparing to cater to outdoor diners on Super Bowl Sunday, one fan out shopping says she’ll be heeding the advice of health experts and dodging football gatherings, opting instead for an intimate affair.

"I have a nacho fiesta. We’re going to have nacho bell grande. There’s only going to be about three of us. Just watching the Super Bowl, " said Richelle Carey of Oakland.

Some restaurant owners say, with low table turnover, Super Bowl Sunday isn’t necessarily a big score in terms of profit.

In Dublin, at The Coach’s Grill, they’ll offer outdoor dining and takeout, but will close before kickoff.      

Owners say they think that’s a win for their bottom line and the public’s health.

"What we’re really focused on is getting back to indoor dining and we feel that just by encouraging our customers to watch the game at home, take out restaurant food, it’s going to take us one step closer to actually being able to dine inside, getting into the red tier and orange tier, so this is our way to do our part,"said Robb D’Amore, co-owner of The Coach’s Grille.

With the number of vaccinated Californians now close to 4.5 million and rising, there’s growing optimism the state may be beginning to turn the corner with COVID-19.

But with surges typically following events where people gather, the surgeon general is urging football fans to stay on their game in terms of safety.

"While the stay-at-home orders have been lifted throughout the state, we’re not out of the woods yet. We must continue to take action to slow the surge of COVID-19," said Dr. Harris.