The Sturgis City Council voted 8–1 last night to proceed with the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as scheduled, but with a little less hoopla:
The COVID-19 pandemic version of the Rally will have no opening ceremonies, no B-1 fly-over Main Street, and no bands or contests at Harley-Davidson Rally Point. But it will have hand sanitation stations on Main Street as well as a nightly disinfecting of the downtown sidewalks.
Almost all the changes are meant to discourage large gatherings of people on city property, said Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie. That hopefully will lessen the spread of the coronavirus [“Sturgis Motorcycle Rally a Go,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2020.06.15].
Even without coronavirus, the Rally sidewalks could surely use some disinfecting… not to mention the sidewalkers.
The council could have gone with the wishes of 63% of residents and postponed the Rally, but this way the city retains some regulatory authority over the pillaging hordes who will come come heck or high infection rates:
The option, one of four, the council approved would allow the city to put the residents’ safety first while continuing planning the 80th Rally, according to city manager Daniel Ainslie’s report.
…“We must be prepared to manage the number of people that do attend,” Ainslie said during the meeting.
…Ainslie said having the Rally would allow the city to make guidelines for vendors, including social distancing and sanitizing. If the city canceled it, they wouldn’t be able to set those guidelines [Sindhara Bonnet, “Sturgis City Council Decides 80th Rally Is On,” Rapid City Journal, updated 2020.06.16].
Meanwhile, an event with a third to a half the attendance of the Rally is off… sort of. The Brown County Commission voted this morning to postpone the Brown County Fair, which was scheduled for August 10–16, the same week as the Rally. Brown County Fair Board members said at a meeting yesterday that they were sticking by their recommendation that holding the Fair in August is a bad idea. Someone in the Fair office staff has caught covid-19, so they are shorthanded right now to plan even a limited event. The Brown County Commission said this morning it will take proposals for small events to give folks something to do that week, but with coronavirus making vendors, volunteers, and tourists uneasy, it’s anyone’s guess where you’ll find enough people to make some big fair-like event viable.