STURGIS, S.D. (KOTA) – Many large events have either been postponed or canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. However, a South Dakota tradition that draws thousands of bikers will go on as planned with mass COVID-19 testing in place.
The 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a month away. Monday night, the town’s City Council approved mass COVID-19 testing.
“1,300 test for our community that will be divided into several different groups. But, hopefully, it will give a good indication as to if there is a significant spread of COVID-19 after the rally this year,” said City Manager for Sturgis, Daniel Ainslie.
The testing and sampling will be conducted by Monument Health Care staff.
Here’s how the tests are divided.
- 150 are mandatory for city employees
- 400 are for Sturgis residents who worked frontline jobs like restaurants and grocery stores
- 200 are for employees of other entities who request testing
- 550 are for people living in the town
The plan is to begin testing the week of August 17, and it will most likely be located in the parking lot of the Sturgis Community Center.
Ainslie said they will be reaching out to each frontline business in Sturgis themselves.
“There will be an application process, and then it will be a first-come, first-serve. So, they will receive notification from the city. With that, they will be able to turn in a request for a voucher, and then we will provide them vouchers that they will be able to hand out to their staff,” said Ainslie.
For the rest of the people of Sturgis who want to get tested, they will need to show up on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“They’ll have to have some sort of proof of residency here in town, whether that’s a driver’s license or utility bill, something like that, to show they actually live here,” he said.
The mass testing will cost the City of Sturgis $195,000, which will come out of their general fund. City leaders are expected to be reimbursed through the CARES Act.