Ohio Public Health Order Bars Arnold Sports Festival From Allowing Spectators

Mar 5, 2020

Gov. Mike DeWine is issuing a public health order to bar spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival competitions, except for the finals tomorrow night and Saturday night, due to coronavirus concerns.

DeWine says the public health order is necessary because the festival, which typically brings in 200,000 people from 80 different countries, poses a “unique” health risk.

"To pull this many people together from many, many countries and to create a situation which is unique to this event we felt there was no choice but to make this decision," says DeWine.

Festival organizers say they will comply but believe they're being unfairly targeted compared to other events such as college basketball's upcoming NCAA tournament games in Cleveland and Dayton along with professional hockey and basketball games.

The public health order makes exceptions for parents or guardians of young athletes.

The state has three people under investigation for potential cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. Tests are pending for those cases. 

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, says the state has received a kit to test for COVID-19 and should be able to do so within the next couple of days.