Mayor Rick Kriseman said he expects to sign an emergency declaration and ordinance related to coronavirus later today.
The emergency ordinance authorizes the mayor to close places of public assemblage, an attorney told the City Council Thursday afternoon. The City Council approved it unanimously, with Council Chair Ed Montanari absent.
The measure also addresses issues such as congregating around the Firestone Grand Prix site, as well as price gouging and procurement policies, Kriseman said at an afternoon press conference.
There, he reiterated his earlier announcement, that the Grand Prix would continue, but the St. Petersburg race will be closed to spectators. All public events associated with the Grand Prix are cancelled as well, Kriseman said.
“We want to encourage everyone to watch the race on NBC Sports Network, show our support for the City of St. Petersburg, for the promoters, the race car drivers and for IndyCar,” Kriseman said.
Separately, the United Soccer League —the league that the Tampa Bay Rowdies are part of — said it will suspend the 2020 season for a minimum of 30 days. The Tampa Bay Rays games also are postponed, after Major League Baseball said it would delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s obviously disappointment but the bigger picture is we are a community that needs to take care of each other and the best way we can do that is to be as safe as possible,” Kriseman said. “Containment is really important at this point in time.”
He downplayed any potential impact on the city budget.
“I don’t anticipate an impact on the city budget, other than we like fans coming in and spending money and having those tax revenues come in,” Kriseman said.