The wrestling tournament that College Township in Centre County had tried to stop, saying it would violate COVID-19 restrictions, did take place this weekend, drawing an estimated 2,700 people and leading the township and police to issue citations.
According to a news release from the township, the municipality worked with the State College Police, the borough Health Department and Centre Region Code Administration. They issued more than 30 citations totaling about $10,000 over the course of the three-day event to the organizers and hosts.
The Olympic Club Duals drew 1,200 competitors along with another 1,500 people. The township says it contacted the organizers along with the owners of the sports venue, C3 Sports. The arena is located at Christ Community Church off the Benner Pike.
The township also reached out to the state, but according to the release, the state declined to assist in stopping the event before it started.
State Department of Health spokeswoman Maggi Mumma said Monday that the state was made aware of the event shortly before it occurred.
“Local law enforcement has the authority to take appropriate enforcement actions against events that may not be in compliance with the gathering mitigation in place. The commonwealth reached out to the township last Friday and offered to assist in its enforcement efforts,” Mumma said in an email.
The township also said event organizers did not follow other COVID safety guidelines.
“Participants' posts on a variety of social media outlets made it amply clear that C3 Sports and event organizers, despite statements prior that they had a strict COVID protection plan, took little or no action to enforce either masking requirements or social distancing requirements,” the township’s release reads.
It also says violations of health code regulations related to the sale of prepared food led to the revocation of C3 Sports/Christ Community Church's license to sell prepared foods on-site.
“College Township strongly condemns this event and is deeply disappointed in C3 Sports, the event organizers, the Governors’ and PA Secretary of Health’s Office for risking the health and welfare of the participants, the residents of College Township, the Centre Region and Centre County by taking no action to cancel, postpone or shut-down this event,” the township’s statement says.
The Township said it will discuss amendments to its temporary COVID restriction ordinance that might let it better address future events like the wrestling tournament.
The event comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in the State College area has been spiking. As of Monday, there are 1,237 known cases in Centre County, according to the state Department of Health. That includes 650 confirmed and 24 probable cases in the 16801 zip code and 155 confirmed cases on Penn State's campus, the 16802 zip code.