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Colorado speedway holds 'Stop the COVID Chaos' event after flouting coronavirus orders

Bandimere Speedway claimed that state and local health orders are unconstitutional.
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A Colorado race track that public health officials said violated coronavirus restrictions earlier this summer on Tuesday hosted “Stop the COVID Chaos,” an event that may have again violated those restrictions.

The venue, Bandimere Speedway, said in a news release that it was holding the event — featuring right-wing activist Michelle Malkin — to explain why its owners are suing Colorado Gov. Jared Polis over state and local coronavirus orders.

The governor, the release said, “has not honored the spirit of the emergency powers law by repeatedly extending and expanding his authority and, regardless, because his executive orders and public health orders are unconstitutional.”

Everyone was invited, the release said, and admission was free. The release did not mention social distancing or face covering rules, which are required under state public health rules. Nor did it mention how many people would be allowed to attend.

The venue, southwest of Denver, holds 23,000 people, but a local health order requires venues holding events larger than 175 to submit pre-approval plans to the local health department.

A Monday letter to the speedway from Jefferson County Public Health executive director Mark Johnson said the agency had received no such plans.

“Given the absence of an approved plan for this event, we are hopeful [that] Bandimere intends to cap the attendance at 175 attendees or less,” the letter said.

A message left with Bandimere on Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Officials found that Bandimere violated public health orders during a July 4 event, when it did not seek pre-approval from the agency and allowed 7,500 people into the venue — 3,000 more than the venue’s owners said they would allow, NBC affiliate KUSA reported, citing Johnson.

Public health officials sued the venue to force compliance, though a judge ruled the suit was “moot” after the county issued a new order in July, according to KUSA.

But the judge, Tamara Russell, told Bandimere that it needed to follow public health orders, and she dismissed a counterclaim from the track describing the orders as “illegal and unenforceable,” KUSA reported.

Colorado has recorded 57,424 coronavirus cases of Tuesday, according to NBC News tally. More than 1,800 people have died.