A drag race track in Morrison is in hot water with Jefferson County health officials for allegedly allowing too many fans to congregate in violation of state rules meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
A letter from Mark Johnson, executive director of Jefferson County Public Health, to Bandimere Speedway expressed concern it had violated the rules allowing a maximum of 175 people at outdoor events, and requiring that groups from different households sit or stand at least six feet apart.
Tickets are on sale for all seats in all rows for the track’s events, which would make social distancing impossible, Johnson said.
At least some of those tickets come with a buffet-style meal, which also is prohibited under the state health department’s rules because of concerns diners will pass the virus, he said.
Bandimere’s owners didn’t return messages from The Denver Post seeking comment about the health department’s letter or any precautions they were taking.
The speedway’s next major event is the Brakes Plus Jet Car Nationals on Saturday, according to its website.
The letter from Jeffco Public Health ordered the track to submit a plan to comply with the COVID-19 rules by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Health department spokeswoman Ashley Sever said they hadn’t received one at the close of business.
If Bandimere doesn’t comply, the Jefferson County health department will work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to determine the next steps, Sever said.
“We would consider all legal options,” she said.
Typically, a county’s public health agency will enforce an order, though the state could step in if a county can’t or won’t, a spokeswoman for the state health department said. The recommendation is to try to resolve the problem with a facility before moving to steps like ordering it closed, she said.
At least one other track is operating this summer, but with only small crowds so far. Colorado National Speedway, near Erie, is holding races this year, but has not filled its grandstand.
Other professional sporting events, including golf tournaments, also have gone ahead without spectators.
Andy Yamashita contributed to this story.