UPDATE (Aug. 4, 2020)– IMS announced that the 2020 Indy 500 will run without fans. Read more here.
INDIANAPOLIS — This year’s Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live in the Indianapolis market amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Race officials released an 88-page plan for hosting this year’s race. Tuesday, officials announced that the crowd would be capped at 25% capacity after previously announcing a 50% cap. Masks will also be mandatory.
Officials are working to reassign seats while also giving spectators the option to get credit for next year.
“We wanted to make sure we were doing this in a responsible way. And the best way to really show how responsible were being, is by limiting it to 25%. So that’s where we ended up and I actually think that it ends up being a good result, said IMS President, Doug Boles.
Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department, said the Indy 500 plan was developed in consultation with her department as well as the Indiana State Department of Health. She said it “meets or exceeds” all local guidelines.
Race officials said they’ve spent four months coming up with a plan with the help of national health experts.
“It’s really a collaboration between the IMS, The IndyCar series, and the city and the state. So we’ve been trying to stay in contact with them as we move forward. And we’re really trying to think through everything. What’s the fan experience going to be, how can we make sure that they’re here and they feel comfortable being here in a responsible way,” said Boles.
All concerts have been canceled, including Legends Day at IMS, Carb Day and the Snake Pit. The downtown 500 Festival Parade is also canceled.
There will be no infield camping or glamping, no autograph sessions or meet-and-greet events, seat back rentals or an Indy 500 VIP Red Carpet.
Former Race Car Mechanic, Charlie Patterson, says he’s pleased with the changes. He’s just happy the race isn’t canceled.
“I’m really happy that they’re going to do it. Because I think with the social distancing and the masks and all that stuff, I think it can be safe. I hate to see it just shut down. It’s been a part of my life for most of my life. And I want to see it happen. If I have to sit at home and watch it on TV, now that they’re going to televise it I’ll go along with that,” said Patterson.
The plan calls for a broad public messaging campaign on safe practices called “Be Smart, Be Safe, Be Prepared.” The track has also increased cashless points of sale, while cash will be accepted at some locations.
IMS will also cooperate with the state and city on contact tracing.
Upon entering, fans will receive a guest kit that includes a disposable mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer. Fans will be required to wear their masks at all times unless eating or drinking.
Here are some of the key points:
- 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.
Here’s a look at the event schedule:
- Aug. 11: Indianapolis 500 Practice
- Aug. 12: Indianapolis 500 Practice
- Aug. 13: Indianapolis 500 Practice
- Aug. 14: Indianapolis 500 Practice
- Aug. 15: Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying
- Aug. 16: Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying
- Aug. 21: Miller Lite Carb Day
- Aug. 23: Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge
You can read the plan here: