Amid a literal pandemic, as many as 250,000 bikers are expected to descend on Sturgis, South Dakota, this weekend for their annual 10-day rally that is among the largest in the world.
The Washington Post reports: The mayor of Sturgis says there’s not much to do but encourage “personal responsibility,” set up sanitation stations and give out masks — though face coverings won’t be required. “We cannot stop people from coming,” Mayor Mark Carstensen said Thursday on CNN. Worried residents, however, say officials should have canceled the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in a state where Republican Gov. Kristi L. Noem resisted stay-at-home orders and mask rules — and last month welcomed another mass event, President Trump’s Fourth of July weekend speech at the foot of Mount Rushmore. A city survey found that more than 60 percent of Sturgis residents wanted the event postponed, the Associated Press reported
More from the Daily Beast: “Nobody is social distancing and none of them are wearing masks,” local psychologist Michael Fellner told The Daily Beast. “None.” … And, having come from seemingly everywhere with whatever virus they might happen to carry, they will all mingle and return home with any virus they happen to pick up. Some will have purchased one of the souvenir T-shirts that retired school counselor Linda Chaplin of Sturgis saw a street vendor selling. The front reads: “Screw COVID-19. I came to Sturgis.” … [S]everal local business people spoke of how dependent they are on the revenue generated by the rally. And there were also folks such as a lifelong Sturgis resident named Bob Davis. “Freedom, God, and Donald Trump,” he said.
Watch CNN’s report, and check out a few live feeds from Sturgis, below.