The State of North Carolina ordered the shuttering of Ace Speedway after it violated its Phase 2 crowd size limits
Ace Speedway gained national attention when it opened its doors to more than 2,000 fans in May and June. It violated North Carolina’s Phase 2 reopening plan, which allowed gatherings of no more than 25 people outdoors. The track was protesting the state mandate and most of the race fans that attended neither practiced social distancing nor wore masks.
The track had requested a temporary restraining order against North Carolina after being ordered to close on June 8, saying it was an “imminent hazard for the spread of COVID-19.” North Carolina Superior Court Judge Tom Lambeth granted the TRO three days later. However, the judge agreed with the state upholding its previous order.
THE VIRUS IS STILL WITH US
In his decision, Judge Lambeth said the following: “It feels as if we have forgotten that we are all on the same team fighting this deadly and dangerous virus. We love and cherish our freedoms, and our human nature tends towards resistance when we are told what we can and cannot do. We resisted our government telling us that we had to wear seatbelts until it was proven with overwhelming evidence that seatbelts save lives.”
According to NBC Sports, Judge Lambeth cited a declaration from Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
MANDY COHEN IS THE STATE’S STAR WITNESS
“Dr. Cohen’s sworn declaration makes clear that the scientific and medical data show that large mass gatherings like those at Ace Speedway have been linked to increased spread of COVID-19. She also makes the point in her testimony that when spectators are in close proximity to one another for extended periods of time during a race or other sporting event and those spectators exert increased respiratory effort by yelling and cheering, the risk of spreading the virus is magnified. These considerations which are based in science and medicine form a sound and reasoned basis for the decision to restrict the number of spectators at events held at large entertainment and sporting venues like Ace Speedway.
“Based on the facts presented at the hearing and applying the law to those facts, the court hereby issues a preliminary injunction prohibiting the defendants from violating the plaintiff’s Order of Abatement.
“The court does once again encourage the parties to work together, if possible, to try and find a way of allowing the owners of the speedway to conduct races within the current restrictions.”
Kitchen said the speedway would seek relief from the Court of Appeals and challenge the original order from DHHS.
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