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Health officials ‘disappointed’ after Bandimere Speedway allegedly defies COVID-19 restrictions

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Posted at 1:04 PM, Jul 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-05 19:51:01-04

MORRISON, Colo. — Thousands of spectators partially filled the stands at Bandimere Speedway Saturday to watch the Brakes Plus Jet Car Nationals. This despite an agreement the speedway has with Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) to limit crowds at events amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released Sunday morning, JCPH it “has been closely monitoring the situation at Bandimere Speedway, and we are disappointed in the organization’s ability to limit and manage the crowd size, implement social distancing requirements and adhere to Colorado’s Public Health Order 20-28 at the Jet Car Nationals event yesterday.”

On Wednesday, the drag race track in Morrison agreed to court-ordered requirements leading up to the event, but JCPH said Bandimere failed to live up to those requirements during Saturday’s event.

The court-ordered requirements bans gatherings in outdoor venues in excess of 175 people per designated activity. The requirement does not mean the entire event itself was limited to 175 guests. But Saturday’s event did violate the order, JCPH said.

“We want our businesses, who are pillars in our community, to be able to safely operate,” said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, MD, MPH, Executive Director of JCPH. “At the same time, we are dealing with the most significant public health crisis of our lifetime, and cases of the virus are already starting to increase again in Jeffco. We are proud that the large majority of our local businesses are working diligently to keep themselves and others safe. However, when one business does not, it compromises the health and economy of our entire community.”

Denver7 reached out to Bandimer’s owners, but have yet to hear back from them. However, Bandimere had posted on its website prior to Saturday’s drag race that the organization would be taking precautions:

“The Jeffco Public Health Department will be monitoring social distancing guidelines that are in effect. Masks are optional and please be aware that there will be guests not wearing them so make decisions based on your comfort level. Please practice self distancing keeping family groups together. Every other row in the grandstands will be marked unavailable for seating. Due to the fact that we are under specific restrictions, the event is SOLD OUT. Parking is $15 per vehicle. The temporary restraining order is still in effect so we need our guests and racers to maintain the required guidelines.”

Video from AirTracker7 did show the every other stand was empty. However, the crowds appeared to number in the thousands.

Many spectators at Saturday’s race posted on social media, stating they attended the event in support of freedom and the constitution.

JCPH said they will pursue appropriate legal actions to address this violation.