Super Bowl 53 kicks off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in less than three weeks. As all eyes shift here, local leaders and law enforcement say they are ready.
While the game is Feb. 3, visitors and fans can enjoy 10 days’ worth of events ranging from team interviews to free concerts.
Atlanta police expect about 1 million visitors over that period and Police Chief Erika Shields said their goal is making sure people have fun and stay safe.
"We want our officers to be visible, for the public to feel safe and be safe,” Shields said at a public safety press conference Tuesday morning. “We want to position ourselves so that we can react immediately to whatever scenario we are confronted with."
Shields said they have partnered with more than 40 agencies including the Georgia State Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security.
There is no end in sight to the federal government shutdown, which has already lasted more than three weeks. During the shutdown, a growing number of Transportation Security Administration agents have begun calling out sick, leading to lengthy airport security wait times.
But Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said even if the shutdown doesn’t end by then, they have to be prepared for the large airport crowd. She said they aren’t too worried about crowds as they arrive.
"But then there's what we call mass exodus Monday,” Bottoms said. “And it's my hope personally that some folks will delay their departure until Tuesday even."
Bottoms said on that post Super Bowl Monday about 110,000 people are expected to make their way through the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. That number is usually between 70 to 80,000 people.
Atlanta’s police chief did offer tips on how people can make it a smoother experience while they are in town. She told people don’t hesitate to call 911 if something seems out of the ordinary.
Shields also encouraged people to take MARTA due to road closures around the stadium and Centennial Olympic Park.
Closures for the Super Bowl will start Monday, Jan. 21.