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Race World Offshore ‘Looking For Time’ In Final Key West Decision

With a string of event cancellations—most recently Fantasy Fest—in Key West, Fla., Mayor Teri Johnston announced on July 9 that “in an effort to keep this county safe and our community safe we have cancelled out all major mass tourism events in the year 2020.” Mayor Johnston made the announcement via a video on her Facebook page and went on to list several specific events that had been scrubbed for the balance of the year

The Race World Offshore Key West Offshore Championships, November 8-15, was not among them.

Though the 2020 Race World Offshore Championships are not officially cancelled, their immediate future is anything but certain. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com.

“That statement was made in error,” said Greg Veliz, the Key West City manager, in a telephone interview this morning. “The only event that hasn’t been officially cancelled is the boat races. But I have to be honest: I don’t see any way they can happen—I don’t see any way they can survive this year. At this point in time, bringing that amount of people into Key West would not be looked upon favorably.”

Race World Offshore head Larry Bleil is meeting with Veliz next week to present a COVID-19 safety plan for the event. The plan is being developed, he said, by RWO chief operating office Rodrick Cox and his team.

“All I want is time,” said Bleil. “ I don’t want a decision made in July for a November event.

“We are meeting at the beginning of the week to give them our COVID-19 plan and then look at the city situation in a month or so,” he continued. “Like any other event anywhere, we just have to see what happens. Race teams are still signing up and people are still buying VIP tickets.”

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