By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
You can peaceful protest in mass gatherings. However, you can’t protest at a race track in a mass gathering.
At least, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says so. On Saturday, Ace Speedway held a ‘peaceful protest’ that had more than 2,000 people in attendance.
However, Cooper, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, says that you cannot have more than 25 people in a gathering outdoors. Cooper called Ace Speedway’s race with two thousand fans a ‘reckless decision.’
The Gov. claims that there will be actions against the track. The facility said that it was a ‘peaceful protest of Injustice and Inequality everywhere – Ace Speedway.’
During Cooper’s press conference on Monday, he was asked if there was a ‘loophole’ for those protests that exceed the 25 people he said that could gather outdoors. Many of the protests have had thousands of people.
“People shouldn’t run a money-making operation that puts in danger not only their customers, but anybody who could come into contact with their customers,” Cooper said. “This is a reckless decision being made by the owners, pulling people together in that way that can cause the spread of the [coronavirus] virus.
“Alamance County [home of the track] is one of the counties that is having higher numbers than it should have. We look forward to taking some action on this in the coming week. It’s concerning that Alamance officials have not been able to stop this. We would hope that they could. But if they can’t, then the state will have to take action, which we will do this week if the local officials don’t.”
According to NBC Sports, track owner Robert Turner has been racing with fans in the stands. He previously told the Times-News on May 21 that ‘I’m going to race and I’m going to have people in the stands.’
“And unless they can barricade the road, I’m going to do it,” Turner said. “The racing community wants to race. They’re sick and tired of the politics. People are not scared of something that ain’t killing nobody. It may kill 0.03 percent, but we deal with more than that every day, and I’m not buying it no more.
“I’ve got a business to run and a job to do, and when I can’t run my business and I can’t go to my job and make a full paycheck, I’m in jail already. So getting behind bars does not scare me. I’m going to speak my piece, and we’re going to do something.”
The story also states that Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said via a Winston-Salem Journal story on June 5 that the race was an attempt to help ‘rally the community after George Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd died while in police custody.
Johnson said in the story that Ace Speedway’s event was ‘no different’ than Cooper marching with protesters without a mask. Cooper marched with protesters on June 1.
Gov. Cooper allegedly sent a letter to the Alamance County officials, which included Sheriff Johnson, that said, “The recent races conducted by ACE Speedway; however, constitute commercial events, rather than gatherings filing under the auspices of the First Amendment, and therefore do not fall within that exemption. The Governor has broad authority to restrict commercial operations to address emergencies, like the public health emergency posed by COVID-19.”
Gov. Cooper said on Monday that there was an increase in COVID-19 positive tests, including 938 new tests. He said that there have been 36,484 confirmed tests with 739 people in the hospital from the virus.
There have been 1,006 people, who have died from the virus in North Carolina.
“Today marks our highest day of people hospitalized from COVID-19 since the pandemic began,” Gov. Cooper said. “Over the weekend, we saw our single highest day of new cases reported. We’ve seen more viral spread and these numbers are concerning.”
While we do not know if those, who attended the ACE Speedway race on Saturday night had face coverings, many people, who have been protesting around the country, have not been wearing face coverings.
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