JEFFERSON, S.D. (KCAU) – Springtime marks the start of the race season in Siouxland and the spread of COVID-19 apparently won’t change that as two local tracks said the green flag will drop this weekend.
Both Park Jefferson and the New Raceway Park have plans to hold races this weekend despite the CDC’s recommendation to limit large groups of people.
“I kinda followed suit with what the track did across the street,” said Steve Kiraly, New Raceway Park owner.
Kiraly said they will be taking extreme caution by checking temperatures at the door and requiring face masks.
Even though his grandstand can hold 1,500 people, he will only be selling 500 tickets.
“We are trying to maybe set a trend for the whole United States as a safer way to maybe try to get back to racing here and who knows maybe some of the other outdoor sports during the summer,” said Kiraly.
Since both tracks are located outside of city limits, they don’t have to follow city ordinances.
County officials said there isn’t anything they can do legally to stop the races either.
“At this point in time, I don’t think anyone believes that the county or the ordinances that pertain to counties give us, us meaning the counties, give us an option to make an ordinance that would create a criminal liability for a violation of those types of standards, whatever those standards would be if they were placed in an ordinance,” said Gerry Miller, Union County Attorney.
The Union County Sheriff also said they don’t have the authority to enforce CDC recommendations at events like these.
The county does have an ordinance in place but it only offers recommendations for people in Union County.
“There are no laws that we are breaking by opening this track at this time,” said Kiraly.
In a press conference on Monday, Governor Kristi Noem seemed to be unaware of the tracks plans to open up this weekend but said she’d look into it.
“I have not heard of that situation. Why don’t you let me communicate with some of those folks and see what their plans are. I had not heard about that,” said Gov. Noem.