A convoy of thousands of bikers heading to a rally in South Dakota will not be allowed to cross Cheyenne River Siyx checkpoints on their way to the event, according to a Native American spokesman.
The spokesman said Saturday that the passenger gang would stop on their way to the Sturgis Motor Rally, in the name of preventing the spread of the coronavirus further.
The seven tribes that make up the Sioux Nation are now at war with federal and state officials, who assessed that these checkpoints were illegal.
A duty officer for the Cheyenne River Siun told the Guardian on Saturday that commercial and emergency vehicles would be allowed through checkpoints, but nothing else. Some reservations are said to have already left the bikers.
Crowds had gathered for the start of the 10-day event on Friday, with many bikers adopting an attitude of disregard for COVID-19 restrictions that have drastically changed daily life.
“Screw COVID”, read the pattern on one of the t-shirts sold. “I went to Sturgis.”
Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, has backed the Sturgis rally, citing the fact that no infections were reported as a result of the event held by President Trump in Mt. Rushmore last month. She also avoided a masquerade mandate and stressed the idea of personal responsibility.
For Arizona resident Stephen Sample, 66, who rode his bike to the event, the gathering is a break from the mostly monotonous routine of the past few months.
“I do not want to die, but I do not want to be cooperating all my life,” he said.
Some of the crowds in Sturgis are made up of retirees and people of an age considered to be at risk of coronavirus.
Business owners like bar owner Marsha Schmid, however, are trying to prevent its establishment from becoming a virus hotspot. She shared tables, provided hand sanitizers, and increased the number of employees at the rally in an effort to help control the disease.
Other residents wanted the rally postponed, but businesses insisted they needed the event to stop any further economic devastation that occurred as a result of the closures.