MORRISON, Colo. (CBS4) — An agreement was reached before Saturday’s Bandimere Speedway event between the venue and the Jefferson County Health Department. Earlier in the week, a Jefferson County judge had granted a temporary restraining order limiting participation at the 20,000-seat drag strip to 175 people.
The details of the agreement have not been made public. However, a Facebook post by Bandimere Speedway said every other row of grandstand seating would be off-limits and declared the event sold out.
It also said the Jefferson County Health Department would be monitoring social distancing at the event.
On Thursday, the JeffCo Health Department steered the matter into the courts after expressing its concerns about adherence of the county’s COVID-19 restrictions and receiving no response from the speedway since Monday. That was the day Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director Mark B. Johnson sent a letter to John C. Bandimere Jr., the Chief Spiritual Officer of Bandimere Speedway.
In the letter, Johnson wrote “Competitive events such as races and endurance events are permitted as long as the six-foot distancing and limitations on group size can be maintained.” Also, he stated, “No more than ten people” should be gathered at a time and that no more than 175 people can be gathered for an outdoor event at one time.”
Johnson told CBS4 Thursday it appeared Bandimere was selling tickets to all 20,000 seats on its website.
Johnson said tickets were being sold that apparently permitted the buyers access to a buffet-style meal. That, Johnson said, also violates the county’s guidelines for restaurants.
Bandimere’s representatives have not responded publicly to the claims.
However, attorneys for the two sides may be talking virtually to a judge again this afternoon in a last-minute attempt to resolve differences, if possible.
“We are pleased with the result,” said health department spokesperson Ashley Sever, “but can’t comment further because it is still pending litigation.”
The Brakes Plus Jet Car Nationals begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and continues until 10 p.m.
A member of a west coast race team responded Thursday to CBS4 by email and said, “We would not have driven from Southern California if we were afraid. We social distance by sitting in a single jet dragster and driving 300 mph. The Bandimeres run a first class operation and I have all the faith in the world that they will do everything to keep their fans and racers safe.”
On Friday, law enforcement officials did not elaborate on any plans to enforce attendance restrictions. Bandimere falls under the jurisdiction of the Morrison Police Department. Deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office could assist MPD officers.
“It is up to Bandimere to follow any orders,” said Michael Taplin of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. “It is also up to the people to celebrate safely in line with public heath recommendations. We don’t know how everything is going to play out. We would like to see people follow court orders they are given and to celebrate the holiday the safest way possible.”