Bikers arrive in Daytona Beach for annual four-day Biketoberfest that attracts crowds of up to 100k

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Motorbike enthusiasts from all over the country have flocked to Daytona Beach in Florida as the city’s annual Biketoberfest got underway on Thursday.

The event typically sees more than 100,000 bikers descend on the self-proclaimed ‘World’s Most Famous Beach’ to partake in the four day event, which ends Sunday.

The festivities have already begun with dozens of motorcycle riders seeing revving their way down Main Street as early as last night.

But the annual rally, which usually brings $16 million to the local economy, is slated to look a little different than it has in years gone by due to measures put in place to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

Motorbike enthusiasts from all over the country have flocked to Daytona Beach in Florida as the city’s annual Bikertoberfest got underway on Thursday

Motorbike enthusiasts from all over the country have flocked to Daytona Beach in Florida as the city’s annual Bikertoberfest got underway on Thursday

As many as 100,000 bikers are expected to descend on the self-proclaimed ‘World’s Most Famous Beach’ to partake in the four day event, which ends Sunday

As many as 100,000 bikers are expected to descend on the self-proclaimed ‘World’s Most Famous Beach’ to partake in the four day event, which ends Sunday

As many as 100,000 bikers are expected to descend on the self-proclaimed ‘World’s Most Famous Beach’ to partake in the four day event, which ends Sunday

The festivities have already begun with dozens of motorcycle riders seeing revving their way down Main Street as early as last night

The festivities have already begun with dozens of motorcycle riders seeing revving their way down Main Street as early as last night

The festivities have already begun with dozens of motorcycle riders seeing revving their way down Main Street as early as last night

But the annual rally, which usually brings $16 million to the local economy, is slated to look a little different than it has in years gone by due to measures put in place to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

But the annual rally, which usually brings $16 million to the local economy, is slated to look a little different than it has in years gone by due to measures put in place to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

But the annual rally, which usually brings $16 million to the local economy, is slated to look a little different than it has in years gone by due to measures put in place to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

Last month, the city of Daytona Beach voted to not allow any event permits for Biketoberfest amid fears it could become a COVID-19 superspreader event. 

The decision means there will not be the usual procession of tents, outdoor bars, street vendors and live music stages as was once previously commonplace.

But bikers can still come and businesses can still fill to full capacity because of the Sunshine State’s recent relaxation on any coronavirus restrictions that were previously in place on bars and restaurants.

Volusia County, meanwhile, voted to allow permits for areas not governed by another local city within the county. Ormond Beach also approved permits, so long the businesses submitted a safety plan regarding COVID-19.

Daytona Police say that they cannot force anyone to cover their faces at the event, but the department is strongly encouraging people to wear masks and continue to social distance.

In a statement, the department wished that those who attend the upcoming events have a good time and take proper safety precautions, however, cautioned ‘this virus is no joke and it’s my hope that everyone takes this as serious as it needs to be.’

Robert Burnetti, general manager of The Shores Resort and Spa, told Spectrum News that the sounds of the revving motorcycle engines was like music to his ears.

‘There is already bikes rolling into town, I am getting the feeling that it is still going to be a pretty busy weekend,’ he said.

Last month, the city of Daytona Beach voted to not allow any event permits for Biketoberfest amid fears it could become a COVID-19 superspreader event

Last month, the city of Daytona Beach voted to not allow any event permits for Biketoberfest amid fears it could become a COVID-19 superspreader event

Last month, the city of Daytona Beach voted to not allow any event permits for Biketoberfest amid fears it could become a COVID-19 superspreader event

The decision means there will not be the usual procession of tents, outdoor bars, street vendors and live music stages as was once previously commonplace

The decision means there will not be the usual procession of tents, outdoor bars, street vendors and live music stages as was once previously commonplace

The decision means there will not be the usual procession of tents, outdoor bars, street vendors and live music stages as was once previously commonplace

But bikers can still come and businesses can still fill to full capacity because of the Sunshine State’s recent relaxation on any coronavirus restrictions that were previously in place on bars and restaurants

But bikers can still come and businesses can still fill to full capacity because of the Sunshine State’s recent relaxation on any coronavirus restrictions that were previously in place on bars and restaurants

But bikers can still come and businesses can still fill to full capacity because of the Sunshine State’s recent relaxation on any coronavirus restrictions that were previously in place on bars and restaurants

Daytona Police say that they cannot force anyone to cover their faces at the event, but the department is strongly encouraging people to wear masks and continue to social distance

Daytona Police say that they cannot force anyone to cover their faces at the event, but the department is strongly encouraging people to wear masks and continue to social distance

Daytona Police say that they cannot force anyone to cover their faces at the event, but the department is strongly encouraging people to wear masks and continue to social distance

Bikers started arriving in Daytona Beach from the beginning of the week, and the festivities starty early last night with bikers heard revving their way down Main Street

Bikers started arriving in Daytona Beach from the beginning of the week, and the festivities starty early last night with bikers heard revving their way down Main Street

Bikers started arriving in Daytona Beach from the beginning of the week, and the festivities starty early last night with bikers heard revving their way down Main Street

Despite the lack of events permits issued in Daytona Beach, Burnetti remains hopeful that attendees with show up in full force regardless.

‘So maybe you don’t get 125,000 people like you normally do, maybe you get 80,000 people, maybe you get 60,000 people … that is still going to sell out the hotels,’ he told the network.

Bob Davis, of Lodging and Hospitality Association, told WFTV9 that Biketoberfest ‘is the event we need to keep us going for the fall’.

Davis said the hotels are about 75 percent full. In any other year they would be entirely booked up.

‘We hope to have a better event that we thought we would have with the virus but not as good as last year,’ he said.

Other business owners said they have already noticed a big difference in years gone by.

‘It’s slow, it’s very slow. Yeah, normally, three days ago, the streets would have been pretty much packed,’ one store told FOX 35.

Bob Davis, of Lodging and Hospitality Association, told WFTV9 that Biketoberfest ‘is the event we need to keep us going for the fall’

Bob Davis, of Lodging and Hospitality Association, told WFTV9 that Biketoberfest ‘is the event we need to keep us going for the fall’

Bob Davis, of Lodging and Hospitality Association, told WFTV9 that Biketoberfest ‘is the event we need to keep us going for the fall’

A biker checks out the new rides ahead of Biketoberfest at Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Harley-Davidson at Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach

A biker checks out the new rides ahead of Biketoberfest at Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Harley-Davidson at Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach

A biker checks out the new rides ahead of Biketoberfest at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson at Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach

Volusia County voted to allow permits for areas not governed by another local city within the county. Ormond Beach also approved permits, so long the businesses submitted a safety plan regarding COVID-19

Volusia County voted to allow permits for areas not governed by another local city within the county. Ormond Beach also approved permits, so long the businesses submitted a safety plan regarding COVID-19

Volusia County voted to allow permits for areas not governed by another local city within the county. Ormond Beach also approved permits, so long the businesses submitted a safety plan regarding COVID-19

A total of 113 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Volusia County over the weekend, with health department officials saying the area’s positivity rate has remained stable

A total of 113 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Volusia County over the weekend, with health department officials saying the area’s positivity rate has remained stable

A total of 113 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Volusia County over the weekend, with health department officials saying the area’s positivity rate has remained stable

Patrick Baker, meanwhile, said to Click Orlando he leases several parking lots near Main Street and so far this year, he has only grossed about a third of what he does during a typical year.

‘I’m hoping that we do well. That we have to do well. After my costs and expenses, I hope my wife and I get about $1,500 to $2,000. That’s what we are hoping,’ Baker said. ‘I want my people to get some money. That’s the main deal. Get my employees paid.’

A total of 113 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Volusia County over the weekend, with health department officials saying the area’s positivity rate has remained stable.

Burnetti said local hotels and businesses are doing all they can to ensure the statics stay that way.

‘I think everybody’s intentions are good but you can’t you know, as we have proven, you can’t control people’s behavior in all cases, so people have to make some decisions whether or not they are willing to take that step,’ he said.

With Bikertoberfest, Daytona Beach will be hoping to avoid the fallout caused by South Dakota’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally back in August, with the 10-day event later branded a superspeader that may have been responsible for as many as 260,000 cases of COVID-19.



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