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Government & Politics

DeWine Issues Public Health Order Regarding Columbus Sports Festival

A photo of Governor Mike DeWine
Gov. Mike DeWine

Gov. Mike DeWine is issuing a public health order to bar spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival competitions, except for the finals Friday night and Saturday night. The order comes after festival organizers tried to go back on a deal announced with state and city of Columbus officials earlier in the week. 

DeWine says the public health order is necessary because the festival, which typically brings in 200,000 people from 80 different countries, poses a “unique” health risk.

"To pull this many people together from many, many countries and to create a situation which is unique to this event we felt there was no choice but to make this decision," DeWine said.  

Festival organizers say they will comply but believe they're being unfairly targeted compared to other events such as college basketball's upcoming tournament games in Cleveland and Dayton and professional hockey and basketball games.

The public health order makes exceptions for parents or guardians of young athletes and for the finals held Friday and Saturday nights.