Governor Noem not a fan of races in Union County during pandemic

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Park Jefferson International Speedway is scheduled to host live racing this weekend. Governor Kristi Noem is encouraging you not to attend, while Union County says it doesn’t have the authority to cancel the event.

Park Jefferson Speedway sits empty today, but Saturday’s Open Wheel Nationals will feature 64 cars across two classes. Race promoter Terry McCarl is taking precautions, limiting teams and attendance, but Governor Kristi Noem doesn’t approve.

“I am going to strongly recommend to the people of South Dakota that they not go and that they stay home. It is wise and smart to continue on the path and the plan we’ve laid out for South Dakota for several more weeks,” Governor Kristi Noem said.

The event is sold out. Usually the track can hold 4,000 fans, but organizers only allowed 700 tickets to be sold to adhere to social distancing. Elk Point resident Jeremy Harkness attended today’s meeting of the Union County Commissioners, and believes fans won’t be the only ones at risk.

“Your footprint at an event like this isn’t just designated to the track itself. You’re going to have people that stop and get gas and touch pumps or go to the bathroom and touch a handle or touch a railing, and inadvertently you could easily expose someone,” Elk Point resident Jeremy Harkness said.

The race will go on, but commissioners are asking everyone involved to act responsibly.

“That’s what the state of South Dakota is asking, even the Governor, is people need to be responsible for their actions. So, choose very wisely and make sure you make the right choice, but it’s your choice,” Union County Commissioner – District 3 Rich Headid said.

“I’m going to encourage people to continue doing what they’ve done for several weeks, and that’s take this seriously, protect themselves, their families, and their communities and stay home,” Governor Noem said.

People who do attend Saturday’s event are asked to wear a protective mask.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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