Daniel Ainslie, city manager, told CNN Sunday: “There has been a huge amount of discussion with residents, businesses and state health officials as well as local health officials.”
The city, home to less than 7,000 people, sent a survey to all households to ask if they wanted the rally to go on the scheduled date. Major events typically attract around 500,000 people in 10 days to participate in drag races, contests and concerts. On its 75th anniversary, nearly three-quarters of a million people watched it.
More than 60% of the people in the city voted not to hold the event this week. But the city council has approved it anyway.
Ainslie said the decision was to be able to prepare the crowd.
“There are people all over America who are locked up for months,”; he said. “So we’re constantly hearing people say it doesn’t matter, they’re coming to Sturgis. So in the end the panel decided that what’s really important for the community is to prepare complementers. figs we will end up having. “
“It’s important for everyone to understand that in a very small and rural community in the west of South Dakota you cannot have tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands coming unprepared, including waste and protection. as well as additional emergency medical and law enforcement personnel, “he said.
“That’s really what made the committee decide that we have to prepare the numbers of people to come.”
Events held in the city will be restricted this year, city officials told CNN, and many of the events that normally attract crowds have been canceled.
Additionally, the city canceled ads for the multi-day event and “tried to lower the protest as much as possible,” said Ainslie.
“We’re telling people when they get here, ride through the hills, because when you’re driving your motorbike through the hills, you’re completely socially distant.”
‘The super viral event is real’
The protests have always been the point of contention for city dwellers, but this year there was one more concern: a powerful virus is still raging across communities in America.
Some experts fear this event – and after-hours gatherings at restaurants and bars with no legally enforced capacity limit – could lead to the spread of coronavirus not only during South Dakota community but also other parts of the country when tourists return home.
“These super contagious events are real,” said Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency doctor at Lifespan Health System and associate professor at Brown University.
“We have reports from all over the country about one person infecting 90 or 100 (people) or even more. And so if you have a few infections that start in Sturgis, people go back home.” and possibly even its own community spread. “
And that, she says, can happen without people knowing, as symptoms can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks to manifest.
“This has the potential to create new hotspots across the country,” she said.
The positive thing, Ranney adds, is that more events will take place outside. But not all of them.
“Those bars and the events that followed are what worries me and other public health officials quite.”