State Watch

South Dakota speedways expected to draw hundreds of fans to weekend races

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Two speedways in South Dakota are planning to hold races this weekend with hundreds of fans expected to attend, despite concerns and warnings from the governor about large crowds potentially spreading the coronavirus.

Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has discouraged attendance at the events but said she won’t take action to shut them down, even though the gatherings would exceed the 10-person limit, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Promoters for Saturday’s race said they had sold all 700 tickets. Sunday’s race has 500 tickets allotted.

Dennis Moore, an organizer for the race at New Raceway Park in Jefferson on Sunday, reportedly said that those who are concerned about the coronavirus should stay at home, adding that the economy needs to reopen.

“This country’s going to be on its butt if we don’t open this up,” Moore said.

He also said fans are coming from as far as Texas to attend the race.

Jerry Miller, the state’s attorney for the county, said holding the races was “risky and irresponsible.” He said the county had tried to stop the event, but the decision would ultimately be up to state officials.

On Tuesday, Noem said the decision to abide by social distancing guidance is in the hands of South Dakota residents.

“I trust South Dakotans to do the right things to keep themselves, their loved-ones, and their communities safe,” she tweeted.

Since the coronavirus outbreak hit the U.S., South Dakota has reported 1,858 cases and nine deaths. The county where the races are to be held has recorded seven cases, according to the AP.

President Trump last week released guidelines for states to start lifting coronavirus restrictions, saying the ultimate decision would be left up to governors. But since then, he has lent his support to demonstrators in certain states holding rallies to protest stay-at-home orders and other restrictions imposed by governors.

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump Kristi Noem Pandemic Social distancing South Dakota speedway

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