DENVER — Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is suing Bandimere Speedway for a "blatant violation of public health orders” during this week’s “Stop the COVID Chaos” rally.
The department filed the lawsuit Thursday, two days after a crowd gathered at the racetrack in protest of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ health orders issued during the COVID-19 pandemic. An event invitation described it as a chance to "celebrate God and country and the people of the great State of Colorado."
Right-wing activist Michelle Malkin posted a photo after the rally claiming that 5,500 people attended. Per health orders, Bandimere cannot host more than 175 people.
Supporters in attendance chose not to wear masks. Despite the event being held outside, Jefferson County requires masks outdoors when proper social distancing cannot be maintained.
“JCPH notified Bandimere Speedway in advance of their ‘Stop the COVID Chaos’ event on Sept. 1 that large events, no matter their intent, remain subject to current Executive Orders and Public Health Orders as they are the law,” the department wrote in a news release.
While public health officials knew about the plans ahead of Tuesday evening, they did not take preemptive measures to stop the rally because of free speech rights.
“After Bandimere refused to comply with both county and state public health orders, JCPH decided it had no choice but to take legal action against Bandimere to protect the safety for all county residents and encourage behaviors that limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” their news release said.
Along with Malkin, Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) spoke at the rally to criticize the orders issued by Polis, a Democrat. Neville previously attempted to sue the governor for a statewide mask order, but the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
This was the second large event hosted by the speedway since the implementation of health rules in mid-March. Thousands of people attended a Fourth of July celebration, as well.
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