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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Sep. 15, 2020 2 weeks ago

Volusia County to create safety plan for Biketoberfest events

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Councilmembers said proceeding without a plan would not be responsible.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

The Volusia County Council will outline a COVID-19 safety plan for Biketoberfest at its next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

County staff asked the council for direction on how to proceed in regards to special event permitting, an issue several cities in Volusia have tackled in the recent weeks. Ormond Beach and Holly Hill have decided to issue permits with restrictions and safety measures in place; Daytona Beach, Port Orange and New Smyrna Beach will not be issuing permits at all.

Clay Ervin, county director for growth and resource management, said the county is looking to address traffic control, public health and safety as it pertains to Biketoberfest participants. Some of the businesses in unincorporated areas that have obtained a permit for this event in the past include Hanky Panky's lounge in Ormond-by-the-Sea and the Daytona Flea Market. 

“We are facing the fact that we know folks will be coming down to this area for Biketoberfest, and whether we issue permits or not, there still will be people here," Ervin said.

The county could place a temporary moratorium on special event permits, but several council members expressed that, since people will be arriving for the Oct. 15-18 motorcycle rally anyway, they would feel more comfortable with event guidelines in place. County Councilwoman Barb Girtman said without a safety plan in place, the county won't be able to prepare for their arrival. 

“I just don’t think that’s a responsible approach," she said.

Councilwoman Billie Wheeler said that with bars open now, there's not much the county can do to stop people from coming. She agreed with Girtman and said she'd rather have restrictions on event permitting rather than "just letting things happen."

“No matter what we do, it’s not going to be popular," County Councilman Ben Johnson said. "But we have to do something.”

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