Sturgis is a small town in South Dakota with a population of 7000, and nearly 250,000 bikers have arrived, ignoring Coronavirus to join the annual motorcycle rally. This event, described as the biggest such rally in the world, has been going on for 80 years, but participants were not wearing facemasks or maintaining social distancing. These are necessary for today’s context to ensure safety against the highly contagious disease. Sturgis is a small city, and the sudden influx of hundreds of thousands in times of coronavirus will be a challenge to the authorities.

Mark Carstensen, mayor of Sturgis, South Dakota, indicated his determination to encourage “personal responsibility.” His team has set up sanitation stations and distributed masks. He explained to a section of the media – “We cannot stop people from coming.” These masks help to protect people against coronavirus but are also a hurdle for facial-recognition software.

Daily Mail UK says health officials continue to warn against gatherings of any kind, but in the 10-day jamboree, restrictions do not apply. More than 60 percent of local residents are worried and feel officials should have canceled the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. However, Kristi Noem, the Republican governor, feels their fears are unfounded because last month she had welcomed another mass event.

It was on the Fourth of July, and the occasion was the speech of President Donald Trump at the foot of Mount Rushmore.

Rally is a money earner, and coronavirus takes a back seat

The motorcycle rally is a money earner for the local economy. According to a local paper Argus Leader, last year, it generated $1.3 million in city and state tax revenue.

A letter from the mayor gives an overview of the event. It explains how the city transforms itself and acquires a new identity during the rally. It becomes “the largest community in the state” with concerts and races. The city council members decided to continue with the rally but on a low scale. That was on June 15. Daily Mail UK quotes a resident saying – “This is a huge, foolish mistake to make to host the rally this year.

The government of Sturgis needs to care most for its citizens.” She had sent this message to city counselors earlier this summer. She is worried about her grandmother, who is in her 80s and has health issues.

South Dakota has controlled the coronavirus

Gov. Kristi Noem explains South Dakota is not New York City. She denounced “herd mentality,” saying coronavirus restrictions were not right for her rural state. She hopes people would come and added that the economy benefits from their arrival. Incidentally, a pork-processing plant transformed into one of the country's biggest coronavirus clusters in spring. However, it has been contained. Benjamin Aaker, an official of the State Medical Association, admitted to a section of the media about his worries.

He explained that the rally could be held safely, provided people adhere to recommendations on social distancing, hand-washing, and wearing masks. Incidentally, coronavirus led to the cancellation of Appleby Horse Fair 2020.

A testing time for coronavirus and bikers

According to ABC 13, participants to the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally had die-hard bikers who wanted to show off their bikes and skills. Some of them were veterans who had concerns about the coronavirus but landed up all the same. One of them in his 60s rode more than 600 miles from Big Lake, Minnesota, with several friends. He had been a regular since 2003 and did not want to miss this, the 80th. Another visitor was on his 36th annual trip to Sturgis from Central City, Nebraska, with his wife. The sheer number of visitors raises the possibility of a spike in infections. In such a situation, Sturgis would have to augment its medical set up to cater to the additional load.