What was supposed to be a joyous occasion — raising the flag for the Firestone Grand Prix in St. Petersburg on Thursday morning — turned somber as Mayor Rick Kriseman announced general admission to the race was cancelled.
Kriseman said he would make an announcement later Thursday on whether the race would go on.
City Council members at the announcement backed the mayor’s decision.
“I think the most important thing for all our residents and our city as a whole is to keep everyone safe, so I respect his decision,” said City Council member Brandi Gabbard. “I know it wasn’t an easy decision to make by any means, but safety is our priority, so I respect him and thank him for his decision no matter how hard that was.”
City Council member Robert Blackmon called the decision “saddening but justified.”
“We have to evolve with the times and this is what is being dictated nationwide, so we have to follow the leader,” Blackmon said.
The Mayor’s Green Flag Business Brunch and all race activities the city planned for Sunday also have been cancelled, since the race will not be open to the public.