By EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News
(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) — Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, around 300,000 people are expected to descend on Florida for a motorcycle rally this week, Daytona Beach city officials said.
Bike Week lasts from March 5 to March 14. The event is estimated to generate $75 million for Daytona Beach, according to the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
Most years, about 400,000 to 500,000 people attend, but this year a “reasonable estimate would be around 300,000 +,” Janet Kersey, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, told ABC News via email Monday.
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“With good weather and the vaccine now in distribution that could improve,” Kersey continued. “We know our hotels are doing well with strong occupancy numbers reported to the Volusia County Hotel & Lodging Association.”
“Event activities take place now throughout the entire north/central Florida area,” she added.
Due to COVID-19, Kersey said, “there was much discussion” about canceling, but she said the city council “was very meticulous in its decision to move forward.”
Last summer, dozens of COVID-19 cases were linked to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, which attracted about 460,000 people.
Kersey stressed that detailed safety plans were created for businesses and hotels.
Changes this year include limiting some businesses to 60% indoor capacity, Daytona Beach officials said.
“Residents and visitors should wear face coverings when indoors and physical distancing is not possible,” city officials said, adding that businesses will follow distancing and mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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“Outside those same safety protocols are in place with cleaning, staff mask wearing, etc.,” Kersey said. “There is also a motorcycles-only traffic this year for the first time and reduced parking on Main Street to allow for better social distancing. Parking has been added to the Ocean Center utilizing their larger lots which is just one block north of Main Street and allows for outdoor walking and spacing.”
Florida does not have a statewide mask mandate.
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