Motorcycle rally set for Allegany County

In this Cumberland Times-News file photo, spectators watch as contestants compete in a motorcycle demolition derby, where the last rider on his motorcycle wins, at an annual East Coast Sturgis event at Apple Mountain in Little Orleans. Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts gathered for the four-day event in 2014 that included bike games, bands, food, and vendors.

LITTLE ORLEANS — While this year’s Ocean City BikeFest and the Delmarva Bike Week on Maryland’s Eastern Shore were recently canceled due to concerns of spreading COVID-19, folks from states including Florida are reportedly headed to Allegany County for an annual motorcycle event.

On Tuesday, the Facebook page for Apple’s East Coast Sturgis Destination 2020, set to officially start Wednesday and run through Sunday, invites folks to “Come, Camp, Party!” and includes a photo of tents pitched in a row.

The rally, held on private property, in past years has featured bands, activities and thousands of people from across the country.

Although the event’s organizer refused a Cumberland Times-News request for comments, a post on the motorcycle rally’s social media site states “Open all week, pay cash at the gate … Our America, the one we have had up til these crazy times!”

According to Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent executive order, “it is strongly recommended that all Marylanders continue following the most current guidance from (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and (Maryland Department of Health) regarding social distancing, including, without limitation, avoidance of large gatherings and crowded places.”

The social distancing clause further states that the secretary of health is authorized to issue directives that require “individuals to remain indoors or to refrain from congregating, as the secretary deems necessary to monitor, treat, prevent, reduce the spread of, and suppress COVID-19.”

All people in Maryland older than 5 are required to wear a face covering when they are “outdoors and unable to consistently maintain at least six feet of distance from individuals who are not members of their household,” the order states.

General provisions of the law state “a person who knowingly and willfully violates this order or any local order is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.”

However, none of the governor’s current orders restrict the size of gatherings.

And county officials have little authority over the event.

“We’ve had several questions about this,” Allegany County Interim Administrator Jason Bennett​ said of the motorcycle rally. “There’s no permit needed by law.”

The Allegany County Health Department was unavailable to provide information or comments for this article. 

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