IU Health, IMS officials clash over plan to allow fans at this year’s Indy 500 during pandemic

Indy 500

UPDATE (Aug. 4, 2020)– IMS announced that the 2020 Indy 500 will run without fans. Read more here.

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INDIANAPOLIS – IU Health reportedly has concerns about allowing fans at this year’s Indianapolis 500 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement provided to our media partners with the Indy Star, IU Health said it was concerned that hosting thousands of people for the event could lead to an outbreak.

“We have concerns about the risks of infection beyond the scope of the IMS plan, including social gatherings, travel, restaurants, bars, accommodations and other event-related activities,” IU Health said. “This could lead to a spike in COVID-19 infections as we continue to see cases and hospitalizations increase every day.”

IU Health urged IMS to “consider an alternative to running the Indy 500 with fans in August.”

IMS officials responded to the report with the following statement:

IU Health’s viewpoint is inaccurate and premature.

IMS has put together a plan that will serve as a model for the careful and conscientious management of events during this pandemic. It is informed by expert advice and reflects our belief that with carefully considered precautions in place, it’s not necessary or appropriate to return to shutting down events that are important to our state and city.

Despite attempts by our organization to engage with IU Health leadership, we have not received a single suggestion from IU Health as to how our approach might be improved. In contrast, public health officials from our city and state have engaged with us for months. They have given us numerous suggestions that we have implemented, and they have approved our plans subject to continued review.

We remain open to meaningful input from IU Health that will improve our detailed operational plan as we move closer to Race Day.

IMS will limit capacity to 25% and require all fans to wear masks throughout the entire facility. Everyone entering the venue will be screened with a contactless thermometer.

There will be no drinking fountains or misting stations. The race is scheduled for Aug. 23.

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