Tens of thousands of bikers will soon descend on Daytona Beach, Florida. Despite the pandemic, the city is holding its annual Bike Week event. The 10-day event will begin this Friday (March 12) and is a big draw for the Florida city.
In the past, the Daytona event attracted 500,000 motorcyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts to the city. Reportedly, the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce estimates around 300,000 to 400,000 people will probably attend the event this year. News of the event comes as some states including Texas and Mississippi roll back on their social media measures including mask mandates.
According to Fox News, Daytona will allow bars to serve at 60 percent capacity. They will also allow establishments to serve alcohol and other items outdoors temporarily. Daytona Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Janet Kersey expects fewer people this year.
“We know it’s likely to be less just because of COVID concerns. As well as many still struggling to make ends meet due to loss of income from COVID,” Kersey told the outlet.
Dayton Beach Plans For Thousands
The Daytona Beach event has echoes of a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota last August. Several criticized the event as a super-spreader scenario, coming amid the pandemic. Almost 460,000 attended that event last year. Researchers at San Diego State University Center estimated 266,000 new COVID-19 cases cropped because of the event.
Likewise, some have criticized Daytona Beach for holding the annual event. Some have predicted a similar super-spreader effect for this event. The city is located in Volusia County. So far, that county reported 34, 583 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Of that number, 1,793 people are in the hospital and 677 people died from the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has administered more than 90.3 million COVID-19 vaccines. In the state of Florida alone, around 5.9 million citizens got their vaccine doses. Currently, there have been cases of COVID-19 variants. It’s unknown how effective the vaccine is against said variants of the virus.
But for Daytona Beach small business owners, they’re looking forward to the event. Many have felt economic strain related to both the pandemic and lockdown. They’re hoping the event will give their struggling businesses the shot they need to weather an uncertain economic future. The Daytona Beach event will kick off on Friday and last for 10 days.