The Arnold Sports Festival – which was expected to bring 250,000 people to Columbus from 80 different countries – has been partially canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus.
The competitions will go on, but without spectators, and the massive tradeshow has been canceled. The lone exception will be the Arnold Classic World Bodybuilding Championship finals on Saturday night, which will still allow spectators as the arena-style setting minimizes fears of spreading the virus.
Its a sad day for me and everyone at the @ArnoldSports team. But we will always put our fans health first. After discussions with @GovMikeDeWine, @MayorGinther, and the CDC, we will be postponing the expo because we cant risk bringing 250,000 people together with #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/Fuzcmapxiy— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) March 3, 2020
The news came on Tuesday night at a joint press conference with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.
Columbus Public Health will monitor the 22,000 athletes as they arrive in Columbus for the competition and all athletes from China, Italy, Japan, Iran, and South Korea will be excluded from participating in the competition.
Both the convention and the trade show are expected to be rescheduled, but no details have been released yet.