Los Angeles County’s public health director said Thursday she is “comfortable” with plans for this weekend’s LA Marathon, despite slight upticks in COVID-19 transmission and concerns that such a large gathering of people could prompt more virus spread.
Barbara Ferrer said during an online media briefing that organizers of Sunday’s marathon have been working with health officials “to plan for this event to be as safe as possible.”
“They’ve made a lot of modifications so that the runners will be safe,” Ferrer said. “And, of course, in terms of spectators, it’s up to all of us to keep our distance if we’re in crowded places, as always. … It’s a long route, so people have plenty of opportunity to spread out.”
Last year’s marathon was held just as the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding, and this year’s race was pushed back as the virus continued to spread. Ferrer said race organizers have worked to add “extra safety measures,” but the biggest challenge will be to limit extended gatherings of crowds of people.
“So I feel comfortable,” Ferrer said. “It’s an outdoor event. The biggest issue with outdoor events is just when there’s a lot of crowding for a long period of time, so hopefully spectators avoid being in those situations. And I know the marathon organizers have really gone to great lengths to limit the amount of crowding that’s going to happen among the runners.
“The good thing is, when they’re running, they’re often not very close to everybody else for extended periods of time, and that too will make it safer for the athletes,” she added.
The marathon is requiring proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test for all participants, staff, volunteers, media and spectators entering the starting area at Dodger Stadium. Face coverings will also be required in the starting area, and will be recommended in all other areas.
Race participants will have to submit their proof of vaccination or negative test on Friday or Saturday at the event’s Health and Fitness Expo, and they will receive a verification band.