JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There was a long line Thursday afternoon for people to get tested ahead of the USA Track and Field competitions at the University of North Florida.
The testing, however, came to a stop after athletes and parents waited in line for hours in the heat. Parents said they were told that the testing center was closed, and they have to find another way to show their children were negative for the virus.
The USATF posted on Twitter a statement, saying it was returning to its original resting requirements. It reads in part:
“Athletes and coaches already wearing a red, white, purple, or black wristband will NOT require further testing. Athletes and coaches that have not been tested on-site will now be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test or proof of vaccination. They do not need to test on-site to pass through packet pick-up or to compete.”
Theresa Carter and her son traveled from Delaware with the Delaware Elite Track Club. She said they waited in line for nearly nine hours.
“The parents were upset. This morning they were yelling because it was just so hot,” Carter said.
Once she worked her way up the line, Carter said the testing came to an abrupt stop.
“It’s probably going to effect our performance, but we’re still going to go all out like we’re supposed to do,” an athlete said.
News4Jax called and emailed USATF several times for comment Thursday, but a response had not been returned by the evening.
Thousands of athletes ranging in age from 7 to 18 are registered for the event, which runs until Sunday.
(3/3) They do not need to test on-site to pass through packet pick-up or to compete.— USATF (@usatf) July 29, 2021
Please proceed to the UNF Field House in an orderly manner if you are still in need of a bib number.
We thank you again for your patience as we collectively navigate this evolving situation.