Lake of the Ozarks motorcycle rally raises COVID-19 concerns

Biker Dad

LAKE OF THE OZARKS (KRCG/CBS NEWSPATH) — Tens of thousands of motorcycle riders gathered Friday at the Lake of the Ozarks. Organizers of Bikefest said their event was the largest motorcycle rally in the Midwest. Health officials had concerns that Bikefest could cause a huge spike in the number of Missouri’s coronavirus cases.

Health officials said events like Bikefest draw many people into crowded spaces without social distancing. Most of the bikers at this year’s Bikefest were not following cdc guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Missouri does not have a statewide mask requirement or a statewide limit on the size of gatherings of people. Bikers from across the country enjoyed Bikefest because it was one of the few motorcycle rallies in the country that did not get cancelled this year. Last year’s Bikefest had about 125,000 people. Some motorcycle riders at Bikefest said they felt safe from the coronavirus even though many people were not practicing social distancing and are not wearing masks.

Bikefest participant Anne Heady said, “We have them on, on occasion. I can’t really speculate and say exactly what everybody’s opinions are. My opinion is, if I’m going to get it, I’m going to get it.”

Bikefest participant Rodney Willis said, “I’ve been down here all summer long. I’ve had no problems.”

Bikefest participant Roger Ash said, “Everybody is mindful of each other and having a good time.”

The White House Coronavirus Task Force said Missouri had some areas of concern with high levels of virus transmission known as red zones. Bikefest is in Camden and Miller counties which are both considered red zones.

Health officials worried that Bikefest would increase COVID-19 cases at the Lake of the Ozarks as well as wherever participants returned home. The motorcycle rally ends this Sunday.

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