ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The St. Peterburg Grand Prix is back and race fans are flocking to downtown St. Petersburg to see and hear IndyCar racers in action.
But the race’s return comes with a little controversy as the sound of the cars buzzing around the track is instilling joy in some and fear in others.
Shauna Daucher is a Pinellas County teacher who went to the Grand Prix on Friday to have fun with her dad.
“It’s a lot of fun to come and watch our city turn into a racetrack,” Daucher said.
Businesses are also thrilled with the return of the beloved race.
“The economic impact is amazing, we definitely see boosts in sales and just more exposure,” said Megan Mcintyre, co-owner of the Tipsy Mermaid stores in St. Petersburg and Palm Harbor.
However exposure to COVID-19 is leaving some like St. Petersburg resident Ashley Begley worried.
“I’m quite nervous, a lot of noise, a lot of people bringing COVID of course,” Begley said.
Begley said she’s not happy about the added 20,000 spectators a day descending on the city and is worried for her family who lives here as well.
“My parents are quite old, older…I’m definitely worried. It’s always nervewracking,” Begley said. “I maybe wish they would have picked somewhere else.”
Business owners like Mcintyre understand the concern and are taking precautions ahead of the race.
“Of course, you know, it’s the unknown, so we just really try to keep everything safe. If people come in without masks we provide a paper mask,” Mcintyre said.
Grand Prix events continue through the weekend with the big event this Sunday.