South Dakota governor: Masks are optional at Mount Rushmore event Trump's attending

South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemMore GOP governors embrace mask mandates, but holdouts remain Sturgis rally blamed for COVID-19 spread in Minnesota Joe Biden must understand South Dakotans if he wants a national mask mandate MORE (R) on Monday said that residents attending the state's Independence Day event at Mount Rushmore will have the option to not wear masks despite the renewed surge of coronavirus cases across the country.

"We will have a large event on July 3. We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we'll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one. But we will not be social distancing," Noem told Fox News' Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamThe evolution of cable TV news — after Donald Trump Fox News Channel confronts criticism from right-of-center viewers Momentum grows for Biden despite lack of projections MORE.

The event, which will feature a flyover and fireworks, will be attended by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE. The president is also expected to give remarks at the celebration.


The outlook on the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. has once again turned ominous as multiple states set records for the number of daily cases. Some states have banned beach access, and a handful of cities have required that residents wear masks while in public.

According to a website about the scheduled event, people must have a ticket to attend. Tickets were distributed this month "to around 7,500 participants," the website says.

South Dakota has had more than 6,700 cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic, with 91 deaths. The state's health department website says that South Dakota currently has 807 active cases, with an average of 79 new cases a day over the past two weeks.