Coronavirus: Arnold Sports Festival partially canceled over health concerns

The Arnold Sports Festival will have athletes competing this year but there will be no spectators, our news partners at WBNS.com are reporting.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that the athletic competitions will go on as scheduled but no one will be allowed in the Greater Columbus Convention Center because of concerns over the coronavirus.

The only exception for spectators: The finals on Saturday night.

The finals will include about 4,000 people who had pre-sold tickets and officials considered it not significantly different than something like a basketball game.

Also, the expo has been canceled.

The event established by and named after former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been slated to draw more than 20,000 athletes from 80 countries to compete in more than 80 events to include professional bodybuilding and a strongman competition.

DeWine worked in consultation with city officials and the former California governor, who called it a “very sad moment.” He said by phone at the news conference that this is the first time in event history that activities have been postponed.

Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said they are excluding roughly 20 athletes from five affected countries: China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, and Italy.

All athletes will be asked if they traveled to those countries as well.

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