St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Tuesday afternoon updated plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic for two major events impacting the area: the World Series and the Firestone Grand Prix.
The Tampa Bay Rays will be playing in the World Series starting Tuesday night, and the city plans for fans to come together in a safe, cautious way to watch. The city will host watch parties at Spa Beach Park at the new St. Pete Pier.
At the pier, the game will be aired live, and attendees will have access to socially distanced pods, which can seat up to six guests.
“This is exactly what we were hoping, and what we really wanted to try and create,” Kriseman said about the new pier area.
The Mayor also provided an update for the city’s Firestone Grand Prix. There, attendance will be limited to 20,000, a fraction of the usual number, Kriseman said.
The St. Pete Grand Prix will operate under the “Restart St. Pete” guidelines for COVID-19. Upon arrival, fans must be masked, even while outdoors and seated in stands. Hand washing stations will be available across the race area, and it is also asked that attendees monitor themselves for symptoms and do a self-assessment before going to the event.
“This is a special time, and while it’s a unique time, we want it to be a memorable time to0,” Kriseman said.
More than 24,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Pinellas County, with the median age being 43. The rolling two week average positivity rate for the county is 4.5% — a percentage below the marker the Mayor set at 5% to begin reopening. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 803 deaths in the county.
However, despite maintaining the positivity rate goal, the Mayor expressed worry over the rise of COVID-19. He emphasized that Pinellas County’s mask mandate is still in effect, and went over the city’s rules regarding bars and restaurants. The city has cited more than a dozen businesses just this week alone, he said.
“We will cite you, and we will hold you accountable,” Kriseman said. “While the Governor of Florida said he will not shut things down again, that doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen here in St. Pete. If there are restrictions that will save hundreds or thousands of lives in my city, we will enact them, because that’s my job.”