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Watch party for Nebraska game against Ohio State won't be held at Pinnacle Bank Arena

Watch party for Nebraska game against Ohio State won't be held at Pinnacle Bank Arena

Tallies of new cases of COVID-19 and of hospitalizations now have surpassed May's highs.

Pinnacle Bank Arena will not be hosting a watch party for the Oct. 24 Nebraska-Ohio State game after all.

Tom Lorenz, general manager of the Lincoln arena, on Wednesday notified officials with the City of Lincoln and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department that arena officials had changed their plans.

“As we’ve learned, the COVID-19 pandemic is unpredictable, and with the current high number of cases and hospitalizations, we reconsidered this event,” Lorenz said in a prepared statement. “We have worked with the Health Department to successfully and safely hold other events, and plan to continue that cooperation for future events at PBA.”

On Tuesday, officials with Pinnacle Bank Arena announced that the venue would be hosting a watch party for the football season opener. Masks would have been required to gain entry and were to be worn throughout the event, and “pod seating” would have been in place to allow for social distancing. But concession stands would have been open, and people could have purchased hot dogs and beer.

Plans for the event were criticized on social media by physicians and others who said such indoor gatherings shouldn’t be held as coronavirus cases surge in the city and state.

“I appreciate and support the decision to cancel this watch event,” Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said Wednesday in a statement. “It’s another example of Tom and his staff at Pinnacle Bank Arena modifying events with a priority for the safety of patrons and performers.”

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Bob Glissmann helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow him on Twitter @BobGlissmann. Phone: 402-444-1109.

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