Both racetracks posted that everyone that comes are required to wear a face mask, but the CDC has said that to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus, people should stay at least six feet from other people, not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
Governor Noem has faced criticism for refusing to issue a mandatory stay at home order in the state, even following a coronavirus outbreak at a major pork processing plant in her state. The state has reported 1,755 cases and eight deaths, and the outbreak raised questions about the nation’s food supply.
“I can encourage people not to go. I don’t think it’s a good idea for them to attend,” Noem said. “I still recommend that we follow the plans that I have laid out for South Dakota where we don’t gather in sizes of over 10 and that folks continue to social distance if they’re not feeling well to stay home and to wash their hands.”
Asked if she could do anything stronger to stop people from attending the races, Noem said encouraging people not to attend is the course she will take.
The county can’t stop the gathering either. Noem said at the press conference that legislation to expand cities’ rights to prohibit these kinds of gathering to counties did not pass.
“The problem with that mentality is your footprint at an event like this is that it isn’t just designated to the track itself,” Union County resident Jeremy Harkness told the station. “You’re going to have people that stop and get gas and touch pumps or go to the bathroom and touch a handle or a railing and stuff, and inadvertently you could easily expose someone.”