December 4, 2020

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Bandimere Speedway to host rally in protest of mandated coronavirus precautions

The Jefferson County racetrack that health officials took to court for violating social distancing requirements at its events is hosting a “Stop the COVID Chaos” rally Tuesday, renewing concerns from the county health department about public safety amid a pandemic.

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and right-wing activist Michelle Malkin are slated to attend the evening rally at Bandimere Speedway, according to a statement on the racetrack’s website.

Attorney Randy Corporon, who has represented the racetrack, and members of the Bandimere family will also attend the event, which will include speeches and a presentation on why public health orders regarding coronavirus precautions are unconstitutional, according to the statement.

Malkin and Neville filed a lawsuit against Governor Jared Polis earlier this month in which they asked the state Supreme Court to strike down the statewide mask mandate on the grounds that the governor and health departments overstepped their authority. The court on Friday declined to hear the case.

Corporon, John Bandimere III and Neville did not immediately return requests for comment Monday.

Ashley Sever, a spokeswoman for Jefferson County Public Health — which previously took the racetrack to court to enforce social distancing requirements at the speedway’s events — said in a statement that the department was concerned about the rally.

“People have a right to express their opinions and grievances, and we fully respect freedom of speech and expression,” the statement said. “At the same time, we are concerned about public health and safety.”

Under current county public health orders, the health department must pre-approve large events, and and masks must be worn in outdoor settings when social distancing can’t be maintained, according to the statement. The health department has notified Bandimere Speedway of its requirements under the law, the statement said.

The racetrack’s announcement made no mention of enforcing social distancing, limiting crowd size or taking any other coronavirus precautions during the event.

It did say the rally may include some casual racing, with “all local media personalities” invited to attend and “challenge one of the co-hosts to a safe, supervised run down the race track in one of Bandimere’s challenge cars,” according to the statement.

The rally will end with a photo of attendees on the racetrack, according to the statement, which encouraged attendees to wear red, white and blue clothing.

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