Flocks of bikers are starting to arrive in South Dakota to celebrate the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The event will start on Friday, however, participants are already starting to come in numbers.
The event pushed through despite objections from its locals who are concerned with a possible spread to coronavirus.
According to a CNN news report, around 60% of the residents from Sturgis told its leaders to postpone the event this year.
However, the city has no other choice on the matter, said Daniel Ainslie, Sturgis’ city manager, as per CNN.
People will still flock even if they say, “you can’t come in,” he said.
The problem is if the city did not “officially sanction” the event as a “rally,” he added.
In that case, the city “would not be able to prepare for it.”
Ainslie added that the event will also help the city and the state’s economy, according to CNN.
The event that began in the 1930s, is expecting around 250,000 people to attend the rally this year.
The rally usually attracts around 500,000 participants yearly.
Opening the City to More Cases
Residents from the city are afraid of the looming threat of the coronavirus.
Coronavirus cases in the state of South Dakota are low but rising.
One local told CNN that they will probably live in their house for “a month” or “six months” until everything clears.
According to the local, people who will go to Sturgis will come from other states that reported “massive breakouts.”
The resident worries, that other people might bring the infection to the city “and get local residents infected.”
Support from the Governor
On Thursday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem tweeted her support of the event.
“I trusted my people, they trusted me,” she wrote.
She added that the state is in “a good spot” in fighting COVID-19.
She went on and announced the Sturgis rally event that will happen soon.
“We’re excited for the visitors to see what our great state has to offer!” she finished.
South Dakota’s Governor has taken a more relaxed approach to COVID-19.
For example, it does not have a statewide order on wearing face coverings, said an AARP report.
However, its Department of Health recommends its citizens to wear face coverings in areas where social-distancing is difficult to maintain.