Today is the official start of the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where 250,000 people are expected to gather in the South Dakota for nine days.
Local psychologist Michael Fellner told The Daily Beast,
“Nobody is social distancing and none of them are wearing masks. None.”
The Sturgis Rally’s own official website has a “COVID tracker” tab that links to the South Dakota Health Department site, where offerings include a risk assessment for public gatherings. It says,
“Highest risk: Large, in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from multiple areas.”
J.F. Watson of Ohio said on the event’s Facebook page,
“On my way I ain’t scared of the media flue or as we call it round here election flue see ya soon sd.”
J. Toothman, also of Ohio, said
“Just call it a big protest !! And it be A-Ok!!”
There are souvenir T-shirts for sale that read
“Screw COVID. Let’s Ride!”
ICU nurse Linda Janovy, who said the regional medical facilities are not equipped to handle an outbreak.
“We have freedom, but we also have responsibility. You are not going to make everybody happy. Your responsibility is to keep the public safe, as safe as you can.”
But several local business people spoke of how dependent they are on the revenue generated by the rally, and lifelong Sturgis resident named Bob Davis said,
“Freedom, God, and Donald Trump.”
The City Council had never considered whether or not to approve the rally because that had never been a question, even though a survey showed that 60 percent of Sturgis residents favored canceling this year’s rally.
The official Sturgis website lists various exciting events for anyone tempted to attend.
“JOIN US AUGUST 10TH, 2020 FOR THE 18TH ANNUAL MAYOR’S RIDE!! The City of Sturgis is excited to be hosting the 18th Annual Sturgis Mayor’s Ride during the 80th Annual City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally! This ride has been a special part of the City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; not only for the amazing beauty of the Black Hills but that it brings people together from all over the word [world].”
A new study out by Washington University says 300,000 Americans could be dead from COVID-19 by Dec. 1. 70,000 could be saved if everyone wore masks.
(via The Daily Beast)