What Indy can learn from post-Super Bowl crowds when it comes to NCAA March Madness


INDIANAPOLIS — Whether it be in Tampa Bay or Tuscaloosa, we have seen parties spill out into bars and streets following major sports championships during the pandemic. What does that mean for Indy come NCAA March Madness?

“We want people to still have social interaction but take into account precautions that help lower the risks,” explained Jason Lemaster, director of environmental health in Hamilton County.

Scenes from Tampa Sunday night showed packed bars, and too few people utilizing masks. Local health departments say the key is public education.

So far, it is still unknown if fans will be allowed at games this March, but regardless, Visit Indy is already working with the NCAA and the city on widespread signage promoting COVID regulations for teams and travelers.

The Marion County Health Department is focusing on current restrictions, and not looking ahead yet to any further limitations for March. That said, they do say regulations are always subject to change.

The Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association adds that contact tracing has shown that very few cases have popped up from restaurants.

“They might complain about an occurrence like this over the weekend, and we don’t get it until Monday and Tuesday. There isn’t much we can do after the fact. Those people [who send complaints to the Hamilton County Health Department] also say I left, and that’s great, that’s what you need to do if you are in an unsafe situation,” detailed Lemaster.

“Talk to the business owner, there is nothing wrong with that, so that they can take those protective actions.”

Since July, the Convention Center has safely hosted more than 30 events ranging from 50 to 5,000 people. Visit Indy believes this should prove to travelers and locals that the city has a proven track record of success.

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