Hundreds Crowd Bars on The Strip Before National Championship
The Tuscaloosa Strip along University Boulevard was awash with crimson Monday morning as hundreds of fans crowded the sidewalks, eagerly awaiting entry to various bars to watch the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship game.
Despite Mayor Walt Maddox's Friday plea for responsibility before, during and after the game, patrons showed up in droves, many of whom not wearing masks or wearing them properly.
The Tuscaloosa Police Department partnered with UAPD and was lining the Strip Monday morning to try to ensure everyone celebrates responsibly. The City has said that police presence will remain until this evening after the game to regulate crowd flow.
Maddox addressed the situation again online earlier Monday afternoon.
“This afternoon and tonight, we all have a role to play," Maddox said. "COVID-19 has changed everything, and we even have to change the way that we celebrate. We all want to cheer on the Tide, but please do so while wearing a mask or social distancing. We can’t have block parties, but there will be a time for those, hopefully, in the not so distant future. We need your help to celebrate responsibly on this exciting day in our City.”
Myron L. Pope, the University of Alabama's VP for Student Life issued a similar statement early Monday, clearly outlining the need to celebrate responsibly.
"It is important to remain focused on doing your part to keep our community safe. Whether cheering on the team live in Miami, in Tuscaloosa or elsewhere, please remember: wear your mask, avoid parties of any large gatherings and stay 6 feet away from others," Pope said. "Any unlawful behavior and/or violations of our health and safety protocols will result in disciplinary action."
What's next for UA students? The University already decided that no in-in person events will be permitted for the first two weeks of the semester. At this time, no further official statements have been made in response to the early Gameday crowds.