Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Crowds ‘about normal’ despite pandemic at Acura Grand Prix in Long Beach; Race Returns in April

Long Beach’s 46th Acura Grand Prix crossed the finish line nearly a year and a half after the coronavirus pandemic hit its original schedule.

Thousands flooded the city for the three-day event that concluded on Sunday, 26 September. He ate at local restaurants, stayed at Long Beach hotels, and watched as Southern California native Colton Herta won the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Spaniard. Alex Palu won the overall NTT IndyCar Championship by placing fourth here.

Now, the race cars are gone and the traffic has stopped. The streets of downtown Long Beach began to return to normal on Monday, September 27. But as race fans filled the streets of the city to party with each other, don their earplugs and dine outside, some hope the race marks a return to normalcy. Overall long beach.

“It was encouraging to be part of that communal spirit,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “we have returned.”

Jeremy Harris, president and CEO of the Greater Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said that the proximity to the downtown course did reflect how well businesses did, but overall, the result was positive.

“Some who were located closer to the Grand Prix are doing well and better than in previous years,” Harris said. “Others that were away from the city did not see a significant drop and/or more foot traffic than in a normal year.

“Whatever the case may be, we believe that the Grand Prix at Long Beach is one of our signature events,” he said, “and something people see near and far each year.”

Michelian said the three-day event was attended by just over 180,000 people, which is about the average for a typical Grand Prix – and more than he expected. He said he thinks fewer people may attend because of the pandemic, but is happy that many did, even if the number is less than the 187,500 people who attended in 2019.

The crowd numbers could not be confirmed with city officials. But Steve Goodling, president and CEO of the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, said hotels sold out throughout the weekend from downtown to the airport.

“We had 65 conference officers who represented 80,000 room-nights,” Goodling said. “Everyone from the mayor to the bottom reached. They left impressed.

“At the end of the day, I look at the economic indicators,” Goodling said. “To me, it shows that the Grand Prix is ​​a legitimate driver of success.”

As for the incident itself, Michelian said everything went smoothly, even with all the coronavirus regulations in place.

In the event, each attendee had to show either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours. After guests first checked-in, they received a wristband that verified one of those two things, and it allowed them to re-run without evidence at race events throughout the weekend.

“We are involved in procedures to check all attendees and make sure they have complied,” Michelian said by phone Monday afternoon. “It went better than we anticipated. Once they were in, they thought they were having a good time.”

Nation World News Desk
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