Thousands of motorcycle riders flocked to Daytona Beach, Florida, Thursday for a crowded four-day rally — ignoring city officials who warned it could become a coronavirus “superspreader” event, according to a report.
The annual Biketoberfest — which comes after a motorcycle festival in South Dakota was linked to more than 260,000 COVID-19 cases — is expected to draw up to 100,000 engine-revving revelers, Spectrum News reported.
“There are already bikes rolling into town, I am getting the feeling that it is still going to be a pretty busy weekend,” said Robert Burnetti, who owns a local hotel. “I think everybody’s intentions are good but, as we have proven, you can’t control people’s behavior.”
The city of Daytona Beach last month voted to not allow any event permits at the festival, limiting tents, street vendors and live music stages, due to outbreak fears.
But under Florida’s relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, throngs of bikers can go to previously established businesses in the city, and fill them to capacity.
At the event, which began at the “World’s Most Famous Beach” Thursday, motorcycle mamas and papas showed off their hogs on the city’s main street, bought biker gear and dined at bars and restaurants.
Last month, 266,000 cases of COVID-19 were linked to the The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, a larger festival held in South Dakota in August, by a California research group.
The study estimated the single “super-spreader” event had public health cost of $12.2 billion. Gov. Kristi Noem later slammed the study as inaccurate, calling it “fiction.”