Super Bowl fans pack Bay Area establishments, many ditching face masks days before mandate lifts

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Super Bowl 56 is now in the books with the Los Angeles Rams defeating the Cincinnati Bengals.

While there weren't any local Bay Area teams in the game, fans packed into local establishments in big numbers.

San Francisco bar owners we spoke with say this was the busiest weekend in months. All of this comes just days before California's indoor mask mandate drops.

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"Love the people, the energy, the fun! I drink, I have fun, I just love it," said Maisa Santana who was out with friends watching the Super Bowl Sunday. One day before Valentine's day and three days before California's indoor mask restrictions are dropped, even though you might have thought they were already eliminated just looking at many bar patrons.

"It's overdue the mask mandate, it's time to take the mask off and get back to normal," said bar patron Chris Colacicco.

"I think people feel like they've been locked up too long," said Santana.

The Blue Light bar owner Johnny "Love" Metheny says the huge crowds out this weekend were something he hasn't seen since November.

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"This has been like the first weekend since omicron that we actually had a good weekend as far as normalcy. Outside has been busy, inside has been busy," says Love.

Viewing parties like the one at the Alameda Theatre and Cineplex brought out families for the game too.

"I brought my wife and daughter and son with me. More comfortable to come out and do things with your family," said George Gipson.

And while the crowd at the theater was split with those wearing masks and those without masks, there was a sense of safety and confidence in light of COVID numbers dropping and vaccinations rising.

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"Knowing that people are taking the proper steps to get vaccinated, boosted, and take care of themselves and each other. it feels good to be around folks like that," said Gloria Hernandez who was watching the game at the theater viewing party.

"It's not totally crowded, where we feel safe it's wonderful," said Dave Tisserand.

It seemed as though 49ers fans were everywhere, unsuccessfully rooting for Cincinnati and against the Los Angeles Rams, the eventual champs.

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"I'm rooting for the Bengals," said one fan.

"Bengals!" said another.

"They want the Bengals to win. They're Niners fans," said Gipson.

"I feel like there is definitely a level of comfort right now. I just hope another variant doesn't come right back in the future and end it all again, another wave," says Love.

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