Imola F1 race to run without fans after government order

Baku, October 30, AZERTAC

The Italian authorities have made a late decision to ensure that this weekend’s Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP is run behind closed doors, according to Motorsport.

The circuit had been given permission last month to sell 13,000 tickets and operate VIP hospitality both for local sponsors and guests of the regional authority that is backing the race.

However this week a decree from the office of prime minister Giuseppe Conte, known as a DCPM, ordered a raft of new COVID-19 measures.

It includes a clampdown on crowds at events, as well more general restrictions such as closure of restaurants and cafes across the country after 6pm.

In the past two days the governor of the Emilia Romagna region, Stefano Bonaccini, talked directly to both the prime minister and the minister of health in search of an exemption for the race, but none was forthcoming.

Imola had detailed plans to ensure effective social distancing by spreading fans around the grandstands, and having been given the go-ahead to take spectators had spent money on the necessary preparations.

While it had not sold all of the 13,000 tickets on offer, the track was expecting a late rush because people were holding back in case of a cancellation or the sort of crowd restriction that has now been imposed.

The Imola crowd ban comes soon after a similar decision in Turkey, while in Germany spectators from certain areas were only allowed in if they could produce a negative COVID-19 test certificate.

There was also a late restriction on numbers in Portugal, and before the race the police stopped letting ticketed fans in, claiming that the venue had reached the allowed capacity.

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