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Motorcycles South Dakota braces for 250,000 at Sturgis motorcycle rally despite coronavirus

04:15  03 august  2020
04:15  03 august  2020 Source:   nydailynews.com

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Coronavirus cases are rising in South Dakota . [+] Rally , Sturgis , South Dakota , August 6-12, 2007 (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images). The 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will go on this year, bringing an expected crowd of around 250 , 000 .

Sturgis is on. The message has been broadcast across social media as South Dakota , which has seen an uptick in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, braces to host hundreds of thousands of bikers for the 80th In the end, Sturgis officials realized the rally would happen whether they wanted it or not.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has been an annual tradition in South Dakota for 80 years, and despite the fears of many residents, it appears that the 2020 edition of the rally will go forward as planned in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

a group of people on a motorcycle in a parking lot: STURGIS, SOUTH DAKOTA - AUGUST 3: Bikers ride down Main Street on the first day of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally August 3, 2015 in Sturgis, South Dakota. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the rally, with crowds of up to 1.2 million people expected. (Photo by Andrew Cullen/Getty Images) © Andrew Cullen STURGIS, SOUTH DAKOTA - AUGUST 3: Bikers ride down Main Street on the first day of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally August 3, 2015 in Sturgis, South Dakota. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the rally, with crowds of up to 1.2 million people expected. (Photo by Andrew Cullen/Getty Images)

Sturgis expects more than 250,000 people to pass through the city during the Aug. 7 to 16 event, and though that number is only about half of the rally’s typical attendance, it would likely still be the largest gathering in America since the pandemic began. South Dakota has been relatively spared by the coronavirus, recording just 135 deaths from COVID-19, but many are worried that Sturgis could be the cause of an uncontrollable outbreak.

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Sturgis is on. The message has been broadcast across social media as South Dakota , which has seen an uptick in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, braces to host hundreds of More than 250 , 000 people are expected to rumble through western South Dakota , seeking the freedom of cruising the

STURGIS , SOUTH DAKOTA – AUGUST 3: Bikers ride down Main Street on the first day of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally August 3, 2015 in Sturgis Jerry Cole, who directs the rally for the city, said organizers are not sure how many people will show up, but that they’re expecting at least 250 , 000 .

“This is a huge, foolish mistake to make to host the rally this year,” Sturgis resident Lynelle Chapman told city counselors at a June meeting, according to AP. “The government of Sturgis needs to care most for its citizens.”

The debate over the rally has exposed a divide between citizens worried about public health and business-owners who depend on the rally to make ends meet. In a survey conducted by Sturgis, more than 60% of its residents said that the rally should be postponed. But the pressures of the tourism business — plus the realization that plenty of riders will come to Sturgis even if the event is officially not happening — has prompted the city to attempt a scaled-back version of the original rally.

Sturgis has cut advertising for the rally, cancelled its city-hosted events, planned to conduct large-scale testing, and hoped that restrictions on travel from Canada will limit the size of crowds. But at least some believe that the circumstances surrounding the 2020 rally could draw even more visitors to the area.

“It’s the biggest single event that’s going on in the United States that didn’t get canceled,” said Rod Woodruff, who operates the campground and concert venue Buffalo Chip, to AP. “A lot of people think it’s going to be bigger than ever.”

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