Indy 500 Releases 88-Page Detailed Plan To Host Race (Update)

The Indy Speedway has a detailed plan on how to hold race
The Indy Speedway has a well thought out plan on how to hold race

UPDATE During a Wednesday media conference Penske Entertainment president Mark Miles, IMS president Doug Boles and Dr. Edward Yacht, chief medical officer of Global Medical Response, went over the four-month process of monitoring the coronavirus and trying to make a plan that would safely allow a percentage of people to attend what has always been the largest one-day sporting event in the world

“In terms of the plan itself, it’s approved we have a green flag and we expect to have the race," said Miles. “It’s a gigantic venue, we’re limiting capacity, making masks mandatory and the fact it’s outdoors, the virus is 19 times less likely to spread than indoors.

“We believe it’s important we have this race and show that people can come together in the right way."

When asked if he considered this an experiment, Yacht replied: “‘Experiment’ is not the word I’d use. It’s application of pretty strict criteria to minimize transmission. And it’s an outdoor venue so we know the difference in transmission with outdoor vs. indoor venue and that’s given us a degree of comfort."

Marion County Public Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine said the IMS plan “meets or exceeds all Marion County Public Health Department and Indiana State Department of Health guidelines.

Because of the limit on how many can attend, people in central Indiana can now watch the race live on NBC.

“We felt under these unique circumstances lifting the blackout was the right thing to do," said Miles.

“Those customers with bronze and silver badges will still get that access on practice and qualifying days," said Boles. “There will be some adjustments on race day to pit lane access to give teams opportunity to prepare. Nobody will have access to the racetrack race morning except essential racing personal.

“But we do expect fans for practice, qualifying and Carb Day and we welcome them."

Boles also said the IMS yellow shirts will remind people to put on their mask if they’re not wearing it. If someone refuses? “We’ll ask them to leave but we hope we don’t have to do that."

07/22/20 Officials from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today released a detailed 88-page plan they have put in place to welcome the estimated 25 percent of capacity crowd expected to attend the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, Aug. 23.

Mark Miles, Penske Entertainment Corp. president & CEO, also announced that this year’s race will air live in Indianapolis on NBC, allowing more Hoosiers to watch in real-time from their homes.

“Everything will be different about this year’s race, from the reduced crowd size, to a new distanced seating arrangement, to mandatory masks and a live broadcast throughout Central Indiana," Miles said. “We will welcome fans to the ‘500’ based on a highly detailed, careful plan that was developed in collaboration with national, state and local health experts."

The plan was developed over the last four months by a team of Indy officials and national health experts, including Dr. Edward Racht, chief medical officer of Global Medical Response, the largest emergency medical services provider in the nation. It has also been approved by the Marion County Department of Public Health subject to continued review.

“The IMS plan has been developed in consultation with the Marion County Public Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health, and reflects the current best practices and mitigating steps outdoor venues should have in place to host public events," Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine said. “It meets or exceeds all local guidelines and is approved subject to continued review. I appreciate the serious and collaborative approach IMS has displayed throughout this process."

“The IMS plan is detailed and extensive and takes all the right steps to ensure the best measures and precautions are in place," Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said. “Speedway officials have been transparent and communicative throughout this process, and we appreciate the opportunities we’ve had to provide input."

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Attendance will be at approximately 25 percent.
  • Seats will be reassigned to provide for greater distancing.
  • Masks will be mandated throughout the entire venue, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Everyone will be screened with a contactless thermometer, and individuals with a temperature in excess of 100.4 degrees will be prohibited from entering the Speedway.
  • All drinking fountains and misting stations will be removed.
  • Capacity limits on elevators will be enforced.
  • Options from concession stands will be limited to mostly pre-packaged foods.
  • To reduce crowding, many activities will be eliminated, including all concerts, the VIP Red Carpet and the Indiana Press Foundation’s Last Row Party.
  • To help the venue and community prepare for Indy 500 Race Day, all Saturday activities, including Legends Day at IMS and the downtown 500 Festival Parade, have been canceled. Key 500 Festival programming will transition to digital platforms.
  • Signage will be displayed throughout the venue to encourage healthy practices, and staff will move about the facility to monitor conditions and assist customers.

The plan dives deeply into facility sanitation, cleaning and disinfecting practices, and workforce preparation training and deployment.

“We think it’s important to welcome race fans to the ‘500’ and to demonstrate that America, Indiana and Indianapolis do not need to shut down," Miles said. “We can and will operate with every precaution we can think of as we welcome fans to the race. We will continue to work with our local and state health officials to ensure we’re doing whatever is necessary to protect our fans."

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