Updated Mar 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders, Biden campaigns cancel Cleveland rallies over coronavirus concerns

Bernie rally
Photo: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders' and Joe Biden's campaigns announced in separate statements Tuesday that their dueling rallies tonight in Cleveland will be canceled due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's the first time rallies in the 2020 presidential primary will be canceled over coronavirus fears. Both campaigns said they would evaluate future events on a case by case basis.

  • The news follows warnings from Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine, who tweeted Tuesday: "Through the limiting of large events, our goal is to dramatically slow down the spread of COVID 19 and save lives. Now is the time to take action. ... The truth is that COVID 19 is dangerous. We can't ignore it. We can't wish it away. We have to call it as it is."

What they're saying:

"Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland. We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concerns about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak. Sen. Sanders would like to express his regret to the thousands of Ohioans who had planned to attend the event tonight. All future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis."
— Sanders communications director Mike Casca
"In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is cancelled. We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events. In the coming days. Vice President Biden thanks all of his supporters who wanted to be with us in Cleveland this. Additional details on where Vice President Biden will address the press tonight are forthcoming."
— Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield
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