Jefferson County Public Health is planning to take legal action against Bandimere Speedway for a Fourth of July race that officials say violated social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement released Sunday, the health department said that Bandimere had agreed to court-ordered requirements during Saturday’s Jet Car Nationals event. That included limiting and managing crowd size, enforcing social distancing requirements and adhering to the state’s Safer At Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors executive order.
According to the release, although Bandimere said it would comply with the executive order, county officials who attended the race said they “collected evidence that this requirement was still violated.”
“We want our businesses, who are pillars in our community, to be able to safely operate,” said Dr. Mark Johnson, executive director of Jefferson County Public Health. “At the same time, we are dealing with the most significant public health crisis of our lifetime, and cases of the virus are already starting to increase again in Jeffco.”
In the release the health department tried to clarify part of the executive order, Colorado’s Public Health Order 20-28, which sets rules and limits on indoor and outdoor events, such as the race -- and other things like trade shows, fairs and festivals.
The release said, “gatherings in outdoor venues in excess of 175 people per designated activity are banned. This does not mean the entire event itself was limited to 175 guests.”
Johnson said in the release that the county is proud that the majority of businesses in Jefferson County are following health safety rules set by the state and county.
“However, when one business does not, it compromises the health and economy of our entire community,” Johnson said.
The Bandimere Speedway is a quarter-mile dragstrip just outside Morrison, west of Denver. It has a seating capacity of 23,500 people.
The health department, in collaboration with the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, “will pursue appropriate legal actions to address this violation,” according to the release.
Bandimere officials had not returned a phone message or an email as of Sunday afternoon.