Coronavirus: Over 200,000 Attendees Barred as Ohio Government Shuts Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding Expo; Spectators Banned from Most Athletic Events

The annual Arnold Classic, aka the Arnold Sports Festival, bodybuilding exposition and bodybuilding contest led by Arnold Schwarzenegger and held in Columbus, Ohio, has been severely disrupted as fears of the coronavirus has prompted the state government to bar the public, well over 200,000 expected attendees, from much of the four day event this weekend, March 5-8. Ohio has no confirmed cases of coronavirus. Contestants and fans from around the world flock to Columbus attend the annual event. Athletes from the five nations most affected by the virus have also been barred.


Photo posted to Twitter of the Schwarzenegger statue in Columbus Thursday wearing a mask, by Johnny Pomodoro



Schwarzenegger made the announcement Tuesday after discussions with government officials:



The Ohio Department of Health issued an order Thursday officially banning spectators from most of the events at the Arnold Classic. The order allows parents and guardians to attend events their children are in. Two nights final events for the adult competitions on Friday and Saturday are allowed to have spectators.
Excerpt:
…The order says the following:
1. The Arnold Sports and Fitness Expo is prohibited from allowing the public to attend events as part of the Arnold Sports and Fitness Expo scheduled for March 5-8, 2020 at the following venues:
Greater Columbus Convention Center (400 N. High St., Columbus, Ohio 43215)
Ohio Expo Center (717 E. 17th, Columbus, Ohio 43211)
Hyatt Regency Columbus (350 N. High St., Columbus, Ohio 43215)
2. The Arnold Sports and Fitness Expo may allow the parents or guardians of any minor competing in an event at the Arnold Sports and Fitness Expo to attend the event(s) in which their child(ren) are participating. The parents or guardians must have appropriate identification to prove they are the parent or guardian of a minor participating in the Arnold Sports and Fitness Expo.
3. On Friday March 6, 2020 the Arnold Sports and Fitness Expo is permitted to admit spectators to the following four events scheduled for 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Battelle Grand at the Columbus Convention Center:
Fitness International—Finals
Figure International—Finals
Women’s Physique—Finals
Classic Physique—Finals
4. On Saturday March 7, 2020, the Arnold Sports and Fitness Expo is permitted to admit spectators to the following four events scheduled for 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the Battelle Grand at the Columbus Convention Center:
Men’s Physique—Finals
Arnold Classic—Finals
Arnold Strongman Classic
Bikini International—Finals…
The AP reported the order was prompted after conflicting information was announced by Schwarzenegger.
In a letter to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Schwarzenegger complained his event was being treated differently than other large sporting events in the state.



“…There is no explanation to allow all these other events with 20,000 fans to continue while not allowing us to sell tickets to a few thousand sports fans to watch our different sports…”




The competitions are being live streamed:



The Columbus Dispatch reported on the event (excerpt):

…Banning spectators and canceling the trade show probably will have a big impact on the city. An estimated 200,000 people who visit the event contribute $53 million to the economy and fill 18,000 hotel rooms.
The Arnold is the only festival of its kind in the United States. It began in 1988 with a single event. This year, there were supposed to be 85 events, and 22,000 athletes were expected to compete.
…Athletes from China, Japan, Iran, Italy and South Korea will not be allowed to compete in the event, said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, the Columbus Public Health commissioner. Athletes will be screened to make sure they are not from one of the five most-affected countries.
…The 32nd annual Arnold Sports Festival opens Thursday. Bodybuilders, martial artists, medieval fighters — among others — hailing from more than 80 nations are to compete through Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Ohio Expo Center and other venues across central Ohio.
When the festival comes to town, it is always the biggest weekend for Downtown businesses.
There is $53 million in calculated economic benefits for the city, said Jenn Cartmille, director of marketing for the Greater Columbus Sports Commission. This is the event’s 32nd year…
End excerpt. Please click this link to read the complete Dispatch report on the Arnold Classic.
Coronavirus: Over 200,000 Attendees Barred as Ohio Government Shuts Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding Expo; Spectators Banned from Most Athletic Events Coronavirus: Over 200,000 Attendees Barred as Ohio Government Shuts Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding Expo; Spectators Banned from Most Athletic Events Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 03:56 Rating: 5

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