The South Dakota State Fair is opening on Thursday, regardless of an uptick in cases stemming from the recent Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The state fair runs through Monday, Sept. 7, and they expect large crowds.
The number of state fair visitors will surely be reduced due to people worried about catching COVID-19. Yet, there are still some health concerns since more than 200,000 people visited the fair last year, according to South Dakota’s department of agriculture.
State fair organizers have implemented health and safety measures for the five-day event. They include hand washing stations and social distancing requirements. However, the organizers are assuming no responsibility if and when guests become infected with coronavirus.
“Exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk in any public location where people are present,” according to the fair website. “By visiting the South Dakota State Fairgrounds, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Its Lingering Effects
The state fair follows last month’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that was attended by hundreds of thousands of people. At least 290 people in 12 different states who visited the bike rally have tested positive for the coronavirus. In addition, one man from Minnesota who attended the rally has died.
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem supported South Dakota holding the motorcycle rally.
There are currently no mask mandates in South Dakota. Although it is not enforced, the South Dakota Department of Health recommends that people wear a face covering.
Noem recently spoke at the Republican National Convention. The opening of her speech seemed to take aim at medical professionals who suggest social restrctions due to COVID-19.
“We are not — and WILL not — be the subjects of an elite class of so-called experts,” she said in her speech. “We the People are the government.”
On the opening day of the Sturgis rally, South Dakota had around 9,000 coronavirus cases, according to the health department. By Sept. 3, positive COVID-19 cases in the state shot up to 14,000. The state’s positivity rate also went up. It rose from 6% for the 14 days before Aug. 7, to 15% for the 14 days before Sept. 3.
[H/T ABC News]