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Ahead of Sturgis Rally, SD Residents Reminded of COVID Safeguards

Smaller crowds are expected this year, but an estimated 250,000 people still are expected to attend the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota as the pandemic continues. (Adobe Stock)
Smaller crowds are expected this year, but an estimated 250,000 people still are expected to attend the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota as the pandemic continues. (Adobe Stock)
August 6, 2020

STURGIS, S.D. -- South Dakota will see tens of thousands of out-of-state visitors over the next week, with the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally still taking place.

Residents worried about the impact during a pandemic are urged to keep following health guidelines to avoid any infections.

Public health experts say the rally could be the largest gathering so far during the crisis, prompting fears it will result in a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases.

Erik Gaikowski, state director for AARP South Dakota, said for local residents, especially older adults, who are concerned about the situation, it's important to maintain prevention steps.

"Stay safe at home, use hand sanitizer, wear a mask -- you know, really following those CDC guidelines," Gaikowski urged.

In a survey conducted by the Sturgis City Council, 60% of residents said the event should not move forward this year. But city leaders said attendees indicated they would have shown up anyway, and allowing it to happen put them in a better position to prepare.

Whether it's Sturgis or other tourists flocking to South Dakota, Gaikowski said it can't be stressed enough that research is a good line of defense.

"One of the things that we've really been looking at is making sure people have that extended level of knowledge on how they can best protect themselves in any given situation," Gaikowski said.

AARP has a host of coronavirus guidelines on its website. So far, South Dakota has seen more than 9,000 infections since the start of the pandemic, with nearly 140 deaths.

Disclosure: AARP South Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - SD