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Coronavirus Will Not Stop Firestone Grand Prix

Wednesday morning, the Mayor of Saint Petersburg Florida went on record in a press conference to say that the 16th Annual Firestone Grand Prix will go on this weekend. The conference was held to address concerns of Coronavirus’s impact in the area and to the event.  

Embrace The Race

The Mayor, Rick Kriseman, began the press conference by indicating Saint Petersburg is ready to embrace the race. He mentioned that Pinellas county is at low risk when it comes to Coronavirus even though two people have been reported with it earlier. He encouraged participators and spectators to stay home if not feeling well. For those that plan on attending, he encouraged people to practice good hygiene by covering the mouth and nose as necessary, for sneezes and coughs, and to wash their hands.

Additionally, the Mayor indicated that the situation is fluid and that his staff is receiving updates almost hourly. But, every precaution is being taken to protect health and safety. In the meantime, he encouraged everybody to be mindful and respectful of each other by taking sanitary precautions.  

Formula One Grand Prix - Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton | Marco Serena/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Race Teams Are Involved

By the conclusion of the press conference, information on the care be being taken in the lead up to the event was expanded upon. Specifically, attention has been taken to add additional handwashing stations, hand sanitizing stations, and handwashing trailers. And, Indy Car Teams are also getting involved with their own sanitizing and handwashing efforts. 

The Florida Department of Health indicates more than a dozen people have reported positive for Coronavirus. The two individuals in Pinellas county have self quarantined. Emergency alerts are available for residents through the Saint Pete website.

The press conference served to clarify any uncertainty to those planning on attending, as well as to any vendors and sponsors who weren’t sure how to proceed. In essence, the flag will wave green for the start of the race. However, the overall atmosphere by those in charge may be more like a yellow caution flag, as they assess and re-assess the situation as it unfolds.  

Other Large Events

Car tires in a NASCAR stall
NEWTON, IA – JULY 26: Goodyear tires are piled up behind the car of NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Justin Allgaier (7) during the final practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series US Cellular 250 on July 26, 2019, at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. | Photo by Kyle Ocker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It will be interesting to see how other large events are affected in the coming weeks throughout the nation. The Firestone Grand Prix unfolds over three days, and thousands are expected to attend. Likewise, the New York International Autoshow was set to start soon with thousands expected. However, organizers have decided to pull the plug on the event. 

Coronavirus has many event organizers taking precautions. Many other large events, such as major sports games and concert organizers are all taking a measured approach, taking it one day at a time and making adjustments along the way. The NBA and NASCAR are watching the situation very closely and have recently made their own announcements. In the meantime, even candidates for President, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden, recently canceled planned campaign celebrations. 

Andretti

On a related note, Wednesday also saw an Indycar trailer belonging to Andretti Auto Sports catch fire on the way to the Grand Prix in Florida. Nobody was injured. Some tools were damaged, and the racecar is being evaluated.