Long Beach cancels Grand Prix for now, along with other events in wake of coronavirus concerns

Under orders from city officials, organizers of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Thursday cancelled next month’s 46th edition of the street race amid the growing fears of the Coronavirus.

Just earlier this week, Grand Prix Chief Executive Officer Jim Michaelian said he expected the event to take place with heightened precautions for spectators. But city health officials opted to expand on a state mandate to cancel or postpone events with 250 or more people.

The city order applies to large-scale events including conventions, festivals, parades and sporting events.

“We recognize that this decision affects tens of thousands of residents and visitors, and for some will create immense financial hardship,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “But our top priority must be the health and well-being of our community and this is absolutely the right thing to do.”

The Grand Prix was expected to draw roughly 185,000 people to Downtown on April 17-19.

The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach in a statement said it is in conversations with the city and various race sanctioning bodies to “discuss the viability of rescheduling this event at a later time in the year.”

“If that is not possible, then we look forward to presenting the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 16-18, 2021. Further details about possible refunds or credits will be forthcoming,” the organization said.

The decision comes as mounting numbers of conventions and major events, like Coachella and SXSW, have either postponed or cancelled, and the NBA has suspended its season.

Cancelling the annual Grand Prix will likely cost the city millions of dollars in lost hotel rooms, tax revenue and more. A report released in 2018 from Beacon Economics showed that the 2017 Toyota Grand Prix brought $32.4 million for the Long Beach economy and $63.4 million for Southern California.

Jobs could also be impacted. The Grand Prix supports 606 year-round jobs, with 351 of those in Long Beach, the economic impact report found. The event supported labor income for Southern California workers by $24.4 million, including $12.9 million in Long Beach.

It also generates $1.8 million in overall tax revenue, including $700,000 in Long Beach.

Canceled/postponed events include but are not limited to those listed below. Other canceled events will be listed at www.longbeach.gov/covid19 as they are reported to the city.

  • March 10-14 – Western Pool and Spa Show

  • March 10-16 – CPRS Annual Conference

  • March 12-15 – Spotlight Events

  • March 20-22 – 4 Wheel Parts Truck & Jeep Fest

  • March 20-23 – West Coast Elite Dance

  • March 21 – Beach Streets University

  • March 21- Long Beach STS

  • March 21 – Long Beach POPS – Broadway Blockbusters

  • March 24-27 – NAPNAP Conference

  • March 27 – Funk N Funny Comedy & Concert

  • March 28 – Touch a Truck

  • March 29 – WTUI 2020

  • March 31 – HOSA State Leadership Conference

  • April 1-2  – Womenshelter Event

  • April 3-4  – Black and White Ball

  • April 3-4 – Jim Jeffries/AEG

  • April 4 – WBFF/John’s Holds

  • April 5 – Stagepoint Productions Concert

  • April 5 – Grand Prix 5K

  • April 7 – Cambodian New Year Parade

  • April 7 – Grand Prix Press Day/Grand Prix View

  • April 8-12 – Regional Dance America/Pacific

  • April 9-11 – Formula Drift

  • April 9 – YMCA Good Friday Breakfast

  • April 17-19 – Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

  • April 18-30 – Disney on Ice

  • April 21-22 – CSULB Economic Forecast Breakfast

  • April 22-26 – Herbalife Development Leadership Weekend

  • April 22-27 – South Bay Home and Garden Show

  • April 25-30 – ISA Automation Week

  • April 25 – Magnolia Public Schools STEAM Expo

  • April 26 – Walk for Kids

  • April 30 – Shen Yun 2020

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].
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