TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama football fans waited for hours to get into the bars and restaurants along the strip in the downtown area.
Tuscaloosa police said the business owners are following local and state mandates, and no citations have been issued. Bars are allowed to be at half-capacity, restaurants can be at full capacity if there are plastic dividers separating groups.
Even with hours-long waits for bars as full as they are allowed to be, students are not concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Yeah it’s going to be worth the wait,” said one Alabama student who would not share his name. “The whole street is going to be packed tonight.”
When asked if he was concerned for his health, he said no.
“Not at all! Absolutely not! Focused on winning the championship,” he said.
Cooper Weingert, a senior at UA said the pandemic takes a backseat to a national championship game.
“COVID is one thing, but it’s the national championship,” said Weingert. “I hate to say I’m not concerned, but it’s the natty.”
There were students that opted to watch from their dorms or homes. Carsyn Smiling said seeing the crowds of students downtown has her concerned for the semester ahead.
“You know, school has not yet started,” said Smiling. “I’m really worried that if everyone keeps going out, we’ll get put on lockdown like we were last semester.”
Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley said his department’s goal isn’t to hand out citations.
“Our main concern is to keep everyone safe out here and to have a good time,” said Blankley. “But at the same time, we are in the middle of a pandemic and they’ve got to wear their masks.
Police do not intend to allow a block party to take place.
“We’re not planning on closing down the streets at all, but our biggest thing is keeping everyone safe,” he said.
On Friday, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox posted to twitter stating block parties were not allowed.