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DeSantis on going maskless at Super Bowl: 'I had to watch the Bucs win'

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisIt will be Vice (or) President Harris against Gov. DeSantis in 2024 — bet on it DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Top Florida Democrat calls on FBI to investigate DeSantis over vaccine distribution MORE (R) addressed a photo circulating on the internet showing him at Sunday's Super Bowl in Tampa while not wearing a mask. 

"Someone said, 'Hey, you were at the Super Bowl without a mask,'" DeSantis said Monday, according to Politico's Marc Caputo. "But how the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on? Come on. I had to watch the Bucs win."

The photo shows DeSantis seated in what appears to be an executive suite at Raymond James Stadium and speaking with another person seated to his left who less than six feet away.

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A person who is wearing a face covering can be seen in a neighboring suite.

DeSantis's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on the photo or his comments to the Politico reporter.

Just days before the Super Bowl, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked football fans to watch the game at home with members of their households. 

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The CDC also issued guidance asking fans who planned to attend the game to "stomp, clap, or bring hand-held noisemakers" instead of cheering or chanting. 

The mayor of Tampa on Monday said she was frustrated after seeing fans celebrating the Buccaneers' Super Bowl win while not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, DeSantis has downplayed the efficacy of mask-wearing and mocked mandatory mask measures implemented by other states. 

“I’m opposed to mandates period. I don’t think they work,” he said in November. “People in Florida wear [masks] when they go out. They don’t have to be strung up by a bayonet to do it.”