STURGIS, SD. (AP) – The Sturgis City Council has voted 8-1 to hold this year’s 80th annual Motorcycle Rally in August, but with some concessions to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gone for this year are the usual parade, opening ceremony, and B-1 bomber flyover but there will still be parking on Main Street, portable toilets, and higher numbers of law enforcement and first responders on duty.
Sanitization stations will be placed throughout Main Street with increased cleaning efforts throughout Sturgis.
The Rally draws hundreds of thousands of motorcycle fans each each year, sparking fears of triggering a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, but local leaders and tourism officials had warned that many Rally fans would still come even if the event was officially cancelled.
City manager Dan Ainslie says the Sturgis council put as many protocols as possible in place to protect the public, recognizing that it really can’t stop people from coming to the rally. The plan tries to ensure as much social distancing as possible by not having the city host a lot of events.
The reaction from the Sturgis business community to the council decision to regulate and modify the rally instead of canceling it has been largely positive since many businesses depend on the revenue generated during the rally and the week or so preceding and following it.