The Mayor of St. Petersburg has announced that general fan admission at this weekend’s IndyCar season opener will be scrapped, while a decision on whether the race will go ahead is pending.
A statement released by Mayor Rick Kriseman on Twitter confirmed the decision, while he said that a decision over whether the race will run on Sunday will be communicated later.
“Yesterday I said the situation regarding the coronavirus was fluid,” he said.
“I said that for a reason. Since yesterday, we’ve learned of a coronavirus case at an open-air event similar to ours, Bike Week. Then, at an EMS conference across the Bay from us.
“The World Health Organization has since called this a global pandemic. My most important job is public safety and health. It is for that reason that we are cancelling general attendance at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
“We are working with promoters and IndyCar and will have more announcements later as to whether the race itself will run.”
The news comes after event organisers issued guidelines for fans ahead of the event to safeguard against the possibility of the virus spreading.
However, in the last 24 hours the situation, particularly in motorsport, has changed dramatically.
The 1000km of Sebring World Endurance Championship round, which takes place roughly 100 miles east of St. Petersburg has been scrapped, and the 12-hour IMSA race on Saturday March 21 at the track has been rescheduled to November.
Meanwhile NASCAR has announced its next two races, at Atlanta and Homestead, will be held without fans in attendance.