Cancel Laconia Bike Week - Keep Our Towns Safe from COVID

Cancel Laconia Bike Week - Keep Our Towns Safe from COVID

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Amanda S started this petition to Laconia city council and

The only way to prevent a rampant spike in COVID-19 numbers in New Hampshire is to make the responsible decision to cancel the 2020 Laconia Motorcycle Week, set on August 22 to August 30.

For nearly 100 years, Laconia has been proud to host Laconia Motorcycle Week ("Bike Week"). The event brings in anywhere between 250,000 and 400,000 people from all over the country to our small, rural communities. Belknap County, the area that will be hit hardest by this event, has a population of only 60,000 people. In a single week, the population will over quadruple in size. Individuals in the area will be exposed to over four times the number of people, from all over the country, than we have previously been. No amount of hand sanitizer, masks, or careful community planning will prevent a spike in numbers.

Laconia Motorcycle Week has published a “Schedule of Events,” which includes a Visit Us get together at Harley-Davidson, Live Music at the Naswa, Special Events at Tower Hill, Live Music at the Looney Bin Bar and Grill, Daily Bike Rides, and other events. There is no way for these events to be socially distanced. There is no published plan for mask enforcement. There is no published plan for increased sanitation.

Both the Laconia City Council and the Laconia Motorcycle Week are recklessly disregarding the fact we are in the middle of a global health pandemic. They are prioritizing an economic boost over the thousands of people at risk in New Hampshire. This is especially worrisome when, according to the U.S. Census, 23% of Belknap County’s population is over the age of 65 and 11% of people under 65 are disabled. With 34% of our population especially at risk, the decision not to cancel this years bike week is not only dangerous; tt shows that our town leaders are aware of, and have accepted the fact, that thousands of its residents will be killed or sustain life-long deficits so that a few motorcycles can joy-ride through the Lakes Region.

Exposure WILL NOT be limited only to bike week events. Bikers will, as they have in previous years, use local grocery stores to purchase supplies for the week-long event. No number of one-way aisles will keep New Hampshire residents safe. Bikers will use New Hampshire gas stations. No amount of sanitizing the pumps will prevent the spread of COVID. Bikers will use restaurants, liquor stores, bars, and hospitals. No amount of masks or hand sanitizer will prevent the spread of COVID-19. Neither New Hampshire residents or New Hampshire hospitals are equipped to handle the consequences of mass exposure to COVID-19.

The Laconia City Council has a meeting scheduled for August 10, 2020, so please take the time to sign and share this petition before then.

(Photo from Concord Monitor, 2016 Bike Week)

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