RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has ordered the closure of a small stock-car track that’s allowed large crowds to gather repeatedly for weekend races, declaring it an “imminent hazard” for COVID-19’s spread.
The order signed by Cooper’s health secretary says Ace Speedway in Alamance County, located 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Raleigh, is violating the governor’s executive order limiting outside mass assemblies to 25 people.
Media outlets have reported crowds at the speedway exceeding 2,000, including one last Saturday even after the Democratic governor’s office wrote a letter stating the speedway’s actions were in “open defiance” of the health restrictions.
The action came after Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson announced on Monday he wouldn’t issue a misdemeanor citation to the speedway.
“North Carolinians are making huge sacrifices to protect their families and neighbors. This virus is highly contagious and very dangerous,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said in a news release Tuesday. “Bad actors who flagrantly violate public health orders put all of our families and loved ones at risk.”