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Grand Prix of St. Petersburg monitoring coronavirus outbreak

Also, the Southeastern Conference is staying on top of the illness but has not made any changes to its schedule.
DIRK SHADD | Times Indy Lights driver Dalton Kellett makes his way around turn one during a practice session on opening day of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg on Friday, March 8, 2019. [Times (2019)]

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The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is monitoring the two recent coronavirus cases in Florida as it prepares for the event’s March 13-15 festivities.

“We continue to monitor the coronavirus developments and the updates from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Florida Department of Health,” said Steve Bidlack, the manager of marketing and communications for Green Savoree Racing Promotions, which puts on the event.

The Grand Prix will be one of the first major events in Tampa Bay since two people tested positive for the illness — one in Hillsborough, and another in Manatee. The downtown event culminates with the IndyCar Series’ season opener on March 15.

Related: https://www.tampabay.com/sports/2018/03/09/how-the-grand-prix-of-st-petersburg-became-one-of-indycars-crown-jewels/

Event organizers do not usually release crowd figures but say it has drawn record crowds in recent years. The race, held annually since 2005, has become one of the favorites on the IndyCar calendar and drew fans from at least 49 states in 2018.

Vipers plan trip to L.A. this weekend

The Vipers, who will make the cross-country trip to play the Los Angeles Wildcats this weekend, currently do not have anything out of the ordinary planned concerning their upcoming travel other than the highly recommended CDC preventive measures. But the XFL league office will continue to monitor the situation very closely.

The Vipers won’t have much interaction with the public until Sunday’s game. Their practices in Plant City are closed to the public and they fly a private charter that doesn’t require them to go to Tampa International Airport.

SEC hasn’t changed any events

Elsewhere in the sports world, the Southeastern Conference continues to monitor the illness but has not yet changed any of its events.

“The SEC office remains in communication with our members as we all monitor the latest information from public health officials,” the league said in a statement Monday. “At this time, the Conference has not modified any scheduled events while reminding everyone to be attentive to everyday preventive actions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The SEC’s women’s basketball tournament is set to start Wednesday in Greenville, S.C. The men’s tournament is scheduled to tip off a week later in Nashville.

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus guide

Q&A: What you need to know after Florida’s first positive coronavirus cases.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Household cleaners can kill the virus on most surfaces, including your phone screen.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

FACE MASKS: They offer some protection, but studies debate their effectiveness.

WORKPLACE RISK: A list of five things employers could be doing to help curb the spread of the disease.

READER BEWARE: Look out for bad information as false claims are spreading online.

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.

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