PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Democratic debate is still scheduled for this Sunday but will look a little different.
According to the Democratic National Committee, there will be no live audience for the debate on March 15, due to the growing spread of the coronavirus.
"The DNC has been in regular communication with local health officials and the Mayor's office, which advised that we could proceed as planned. Nevertheless, our number one priority has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, Arizonans and all those involved in the debate," said DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa.
At the request of the Biden and Sanders campaigns @TheDemocrats have canceled the audience portion of Sunday’s Presidential primary debate in PHX. It is our understanding that the debate itself will still be taking place. pic.twitter.com/StjDNgmxwQ— Mayor Kate Gallego (@MayorGallego) March 10, 2020
The debate will take place at the Arizona Federal Theatre (Formerly Comerica Theatre) in downtown Phoenix. According to CNN, the event will air from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Arizona time on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International and Univision. According to CNN, there will also be no "spin room" or press filing center.
Statement on attendance/coverage of CNN’s March 15th Democratic Presidential debate in Phoenix, AZ: pic.twitter.com/nRYzyfurOQ— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) March 10, 2020
The debate comes just two days before Arizona's Presidential Preference Election. The only two candidates who qualified for the debate are Sen. Bernie Sanders and former vice president Joe Biden. Both Biden and Sanders cancelled their election night events Tuesday in Ohio amid concerns about the epidemic.
Cable network CNN and Spanish network Univision announced Tuesday that they will be co-hosting the 11th Democratic presidential debate in downtown Phoenix.