More than 4,000 maskless fans pack the stands at a North Carolina raceway after sheriff refused to enforce state's coronavirus lockdown orders on the same day the state saw it's highest increase in infections

Thousands of racing fans packed the stands of a North Carolina speedway over the weekend, as the state reported its largest single day surge in coronavirus cases.
The alarming scenes at Ace Speedway, in Alamance County, came just 24 hours after Sheriff Terry Johnson said he would not interfere with the event, calling Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home orders ‘unconstitutional’.
As many as 4,000 people were believed to have attended the event on Saturday, and some 2,500 the night before. Ace Speedway co-owner Jason Turner said social distancing was recommended by organizers but was not enforced.
He also said very few patrons appeared to be wearing facemasks or any other kind of personal protective equipment.
‘Not a lot of people showed up with masks on. A lot of people are ready to get back to normal. We spoke and the racing community answered,’ Turner told WXII.
As many as 4,000 people were believed to have attended the event at Ace Speedway, Alamance County, on Saturday, and some 2,500 the night before
As many as 4,000 people were believed to have attended the event at Ace Speedway, Alamance County, on Saturday, and some 2,500 the night before
Ace Speedway co-owner Jason Turner said social distancing was recommended by organizers but was not enforced
Ace Speedway co-owner Jason Turner said social distancing was recommended by organizers but was not enforced
Very few patrons appeared to be wearing facemasks or any other kind of personal protective equipment
Very few patrons appeared to be wearing facemasks or any other kind of personal protective equipment

The raceway owner added that fans consented to being around others - in violation of social distancing guidelines - when they decided to buy a ticket.
‘People have the right to choose where they go and what they do. As we reopen, people are trying to have a sense of normalcy and when somebody physically buys a ticket, a general admission ticket, to come to a race, they are in a sense saying that they want to be there... and they got what they paid for,’ he continued.
theaters remain closed, restaurants, salons and barbers shops are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity.On Friday, North Carolina entered phase two of its coronavirus reopening plan – which recommends no more than 25 people at any outdoor gathering. 
Just 24 hours after phase two commenced, the state saw its largest single day surge in cases on Saturday, with 1,017 more residents contracting COVID-19.
Despite what health experts are calling a 'concerning increase', Sheriff Johnson said his department would not enforce the state's social distancing orders at the raceway because Gov. Cooper didn't make specific mention to race tracks.
‘When I took my oath of office, I swore to uphold the United States Constitution. I will not enforce an unconstitutional law. Upon hearing the opinion of the County Attorney, I do not intend to stop ACE Speedway from opening on Saturday, May 23,’ Johnson wrote in a statement.
North Carolina has suffered 784 coronavirus-related deaths as of Monday, and currently has more than 23,000 confirmed cases.
Alamance County officials said ACE Speedway had been in touch with the Alamance County Department of Public Health to implement 'several precautions', which included putting up glass barriers on ticket booths and concession stands, supplying hand sanitizer all around the venue, and providing voluntary lists for fans to write down personal information to facilitate contact tracing. 
Neither Gov. Cooper nor the Alamance County Sheriff's Department has returned a DailyMail.com request for comment.

The race became one of the first sporting events of any kind to take place in the state that was open to fans since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the sports world to a grinding halt more than two months ago
The race became one of the first sporting events of any kind to take place in the state that was open to fans since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the sports world to a grinding halt more than two months ago
North Carolina has suffered 737 coronavirus-related deaths as of Monday, and currently has nearly 23,000 confirmed cases
North Carolina has suffered 737 coronavirus-related deaths as of Monday, and currently has nearly 23,000 confirmed cases
Alamance County officials said ACE Speedway had been in touch with the Alamance County Department of Public Health to implement 'several precautions'
Alamance County officials said ACE Speedway had been in touch with the Alamance County Department of Public Health to implement 'several precautions'

Just one day before Friday’s race, North Carolina entered phase two of its coronavirus reopening plan – which recommends no more than 25 people at any outdoor gathering (pictured: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper)
Just one day before Friday’s race, North Carolina entered phase two of its coronavirus reopening plan – which recommends no more than 25 people at any outdoor gathering (pictured: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper)

But dozens of patrons, many of whom travelled from out-of-state to attend the event, said they’re refusing to live in fear.
The race became one of the first sporting events of any kind to take place in the state that was open to fans since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the sports world to a grinding halt more than two months ago. 
‘We are out here because we are tired of being stuck in the house. We are not afraid of the virus one bit,’ one fan told ABC11.
Ernest ‘Smokey’ Bare, who has worked at the track for over 10 years, told the Salem Journal: ‘It’s been years since we’ve had a line like this one … I’m not (concerned about the virus). Not with my mask on, I’m not,” he said. “But I’m wearing this mask for me and for the fans.’
Patron Brad Flint, meanwhile, said though he was wearing a mask he ‘would’ve like to see more people wearing theirs,’ according to FOX8.
On Sunday, Ace Speedway thanked attendees for their turnout this weekend, ensuring fans that they will clean and sanitize the facility as it moves forward with the 2020 Season.
‘We're really at a loss for words,’ the speedway wrote on its Facebook page. ‘Thank you to all who attended our 2020 Season Opener on Saturday Night. We enjoyed having each and every one of you in attendance to watch some great local short track racing.
‘We look forward to seeing you all next Friday Night!’
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More than 4,000 maskless fans pack the stands at a North Carolina raceway after sheriff refused to enforce state's coronavirus lockdown orders on the same day the state saw it's highest increase in infections More than 4,000 maskless fans pack the stands at a North Carolina raceway after sheriff refused to enforce state's coronavirus lockdown orders on the same day the state saw it's highest increase in infections Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 01:39 Rating: 5

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