Planning safe Indy 500 watch parties

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — IMS announced Tuesday it would run the historic Indy 500 without fans in the stands on August 23. After that news, loyal fans began making plans for race day.

Terry and Christy Carlisle live near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and have amazing memories involving the race, like getting married on Carb Day. They do believe the decision to hold the 104th running of the 500 is the right one.

“Oh I think it’s the right decision,” Christy said. “Better safe than sorry. I posted that today when somebody was disappointed when there wasn’t going to be a race. But when you’ve got that many thousands of fans coming together, it’s just better to be safe.”

Chief Dan O’Donnell with Indianapolis EMS knows people will gather to watch the Indy 500 when it is televised. He urges people to host parties outside and practice social distancing.

He said people need to wear masks, use hand sanitizer and hosts should have wipes on hand.

“If you’re the host of the gathering, wipe down the high touch areas,” Dr. O’Donnell said. “Those are all things you can do to prevent the spread because it just takes one attendee to let you know they ended up testing positive for COVID and now your entire party and everybody you come in contact with over the last few days is now at risk.

O’Donnell does discourage people from hosting who are either high-risk themselves or have someone in their household who is.

“Recognize those in your family or friends you may be gathering with who could be at higher risk really as you’re making your guest list,” O’Donnell said. “Or if you’re asked to host and your at one of our highest risk categories: people with chronic health conditions, elderly, various issues, it may not be the year to host.”

People should also consider a safe menu for their events. O’Donnell said this includes individually wrapped foods and bottled or canned drinks.

“You want to try to have things single serve,” O’Donnell. “Avoid everything we know and love, the food sitting out that everybody can grab at will, that’s obviously not something that we would encourage.”

Ultimately, Dr. O’Donnell wants everyone to remember the basics.

“I know it’s going to be a time when friends gather downtown, potentially in Speedway, and they’re going to want to talk,” O’Donnell said. “But you do have to try to maintain that social distance. Wear a mask if you’re going to be inside, wash your hands frequently. It’s all the same things that we’ve been encouraging since the beginning of this thing.”

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