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Long Beach Grand Prix to take place in April as planned despite coronavirus fears

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IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi races on the streets of Long Beach during the 2019 Acura Grand Prix.
(Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

The Long Beach Grand Prix, which last year drew 187,000 people over its three days of motor racing and other entertainment, remains set to occur as planned next month despite the coronavirus outbreak, organizers said Wednesday.

The decision came as other major events, such as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, already have been postponed and sports leagues weigh whether to bar fans from stadiums and other venues. Formula One’s Bahrain Grand Prix, for example, will be staged without spectators March 22.

The Grand Prix Assn. of Long Beach, which runs the Long Beach race, said in a statement that “at this time, the threat to the general public is low and there are no changes planned to the regular operation of our event this April 17-19.”

The association said it was “actively monitoring the situation” with Long Beach officials and other local and national health agencies “to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our attendees.”

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They also plan precautions such as “making sure all of our attendees have access to fully stocked handwashing stations as well as alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” the association said. “In addition, we will ensure that frequently touched surfaces are routinely cleaned and disinfected.”

Formally called the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, the event features a variety of races on the city’s seaside streets over the three days, culminating with a big league NTT IndyCar Series race on that Sunday.

There also is a concert and other festivities, and each day thousands of spectators cross Ocean Boulevard to visit the hotels, restaurants and bars in Long Beach’s downtown district.

The IndyCar series’ season opener, on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., also is being held as planned this weekend.


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