The rise of the omicron variant has been the cause of many last-minute changes in plans for a lot of people. So far, however, it hasn't affected the plans for this year's Super Bowl, according to the National Football League.
Reports have been circulating about the league contacting the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington as a possible backup for Super Bowl LVI set to take place at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, but the NFL says there are no plans at this time to change stadiums for the upcoming game.
"There are no changes to our Super Bowl plans," says NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy by email. "We plan on playing Super Bowl LVI as scheduled at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13."
McCarthy and Arlington Mayor Jim Ross confirmed that both sides have talked about being on the contingency list for any game throughout the season since the start of the COVID epidemic but have not discussed plans for the Super Bowl specifically.
"Over the last two years of the COVID experience, the City of Arlington has been in periodic communication with the NFL and Cowboys as a resource for any contingency planning needs," Ross says in a released statement. "The City has not discussed the upcoming Super Bowl with the League or Cowboys; however, should the NFL need support for any continuity of their operations, we will assist."
McCarthy says any contacts made throughout the season are just part of standard procedure for the league, and so far there is no need to cancel plans to hold the big game in the Rams and Charges' station.
"As part of our standard contingency planning process that we conduct for all regular and postseason games, we have contacted several clubs to inquire about stadium availability in the event we cannot play the Super Bowl as scheduled due to weather-related issues or unforeseen circumstances," McCarthy writes. "Our planning process for the Super Bowl in Los Angeles is ahead of schedule and we look forward to hosting the Super Bowl there to culminate another fantastic NFL season for our fans and clubs."
Speculation about a possible venue change started after a sudden surge in COVID cases toward the end of December. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the county has a daily average positivity rate of 20.14% as of Dec. 29, 2021. This was followed by a spike of increased hospitalizations of confirmed COVID-19 patients with a seven-day average of 2,240 people as of Monday.