COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Promoters of the Arnold Sports Festival now say athletic events will be open to spectators.
Government and health officials announced Tuesday that this year’s event will go on as scheduled, but due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, spectators would be barred from the event and the trade show is canceled. Wednesday evening, organizers said they were negotiating with the city and state to allow spectators at athletic events.
Shortly before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, the event tweeted that “family, friends and fans are welcome to watch their favorite athletes compete.”
Tickets are available on-site, according to the event’s website.
The expo remains closed.
“Our plan is to have spectators unless we are told that we absolutely can not,” said Bob Lorimer, son of event founder Jim Lorimer.
The Lorimers stressed that having spectators at events will bring nowhere near the number of people that the trade show brings.
“We already have 10,000 athletes that are already in Columbus. They’re here, they’re in hotels. To turn them away when they’re already here is a travesty,” said Bob Larimer. “We did turn vendors down because we do know that’s the basis of the crowd that comes here.”
Bob Larimer said no event will have more than a couple thousand people in attendance.