Story at a glance

  • Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) said the city did not have a specific estimate for the size of the crowd but that it was “larger than any celebration we’ve seen in recent memory.”
  • Videos and images circulating on social media show thousands of fans, including many without masks, packed closely together while celebrating the win on the Tuscaloosa Strip.
  • Alabama has reported 404,000 coronavirus cases and more than 5,300 deaths.

Large crowds of people packed the streets of Tuscaloosa, Ala., following the University of Alabama's  victory in the national college football championship Monday night over the Ohio State Buckeyes, despite the coronavirus pandemic that’s worsening across the country. 

Videos and images circulating on social media show thousands of fans, including many without masks, packed closely together while celebrating the win on the Tuscaloosa Strip, an area known for its bars and nightlife.


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People were seen climbing trees, light poles and awnings, including one above a CVS pharmacy. At least 14 people were arrested during the celebration. Officials said police were able to clear the crowd around midnight. 

The large-scale celebrations come days after University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa city officials asked Crimson Tide fans to celebrate responsibly by avoiding large gatherings and to adhere to coronavirus restrictions in the city. Alabama public health guidelines require people to wear a face covering within 6 feet of another person in public. 

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) said in a video last week there “will be a time and place to celebrate, but this is not the time.” 

On Tuesday, Maddox said the city did not have a specific estimate for the size of the crowd, but said it was “larger than any celebration we’ve seen in recent memory.”

Alabama has reported 404,000 coronavirus cases and more than 5,300 deaths. More than 3,200 people in the state are currently hospitalized with 864 people in the intensive care unit, according to The Covid Tracking Project


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Published on Jan 12, 2021