Arnold Schwarzenegger Postpones the Majority of His Sports Festival Over Coronavirus Concerns
The star says he "can’t risk bringing 250,000 people together" amid the global health crisis
On Tuesday, the Terminator star, 72, announced that large parts of the Arnold Sports Festival — a health convention scheduled to begin on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio — have been postponed due to growing concerns over the COVID-19 epidemic across the globe.
The announcement was first made during a news conference with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, in which Schwarzenegger personally called in to say that the trade show portion of the convention has been pushed back following a discussion with city officials and the Centers for Disease Control, according to USA Today.
While athletes competing in the festival’s fitness competitions will be admitted into Greater Columbus Convention Center, spectators will only be allowed to attend the finals, the outlet reported.
Schwarzenegger also spoke about the new change in a video shared on his Twitter and Instagram, explaining that his team “will be postponing the expo because we can’t risk bringing 250,000 people together with #COVID19.”
According to the actor, the festival’s accompanying bodybuilding championship and strongman competition will still go on as scheduled, though “the rest of it is all canceled — or should I say, postponed because we will have it later this year.”
“I think it was the right thing to do because we want to keep people safe and we want to keep people healthy,” Schwarzenegger said in the clip, explaining that “making money is less important than being healthy and promoting health and fitness.”
“We want people to stay healthy and fit. That’s what it’s all about,” he added.
The postponement of the Arnold Sports Festival trade show comes after Facebook announced its decision to cancel the “in-person component” of its annual F8 developer conference scheduled for May.
So far, there have been over 100 reported cases of the coronavirus in the United States. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control, said that they “expect to find more cases” in a press briefing on Tuesday.
“What is happening now in the United States may be the beginning of what is happening abroad,” she said, referring to the instances of community spread in countries other than China, such as Italy, South Korea and Iran.
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Messonnier said that people may have to be quarantined if they show signs of illness.
“Follow health care providers and what they say. If a health care provider, or a public health worker, tells you to stay home for 14 days, unless you need medical care, please do that,” she said. “You may need to take a break from your normal, daily routine for two weeks. Staying home when you are sick is really important. Don’t let the virus spread beyond you. Stay away from other people.”