Indian Motorcycle maker Polaris (PII) is taking extra precautions ahead of what could be an enormous rally of biking fans at Sturgis, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re planning to approach it in a very careful manner. We are limiting the number of employees that will be exposed. We are leveraging our dealerships, which have proved they have got a true capability to ensure customer safety,” Polaris CFO Michael Speetzen told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.
Speetzen added, “As we do demo rides and allow people to experience our products, we’ll do it in a way that keeps them safe and makes sure we are keeping employees and the dealership employees safe when they are interacting. It [Sturgis] is an important part of the business in terms of getting customers the ability to have access to the vehicles and get to touch and feel and see how great the products can be in that part of the world.”
The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held in South Dakota has always been one of the most important events for the motorcycle industry. It brings veteran riders together with those interested in the sport, which could get up close and personal with top brands such as Harley-Davidson (HOG) and Indian via demo rides. All in all, it’s a true celebration of the sport of riding — and is slated to be held starting August 7-16.
But this year, what’s expected to be a crowd of 250,000-plus (a typical year sees north of 400,000 visitors) will descend on South Dakota during the raging COVID-19 pandemic. The expectation of hearty crowds have the 7,000 residents of Sturgis fearful of the health risk, with some saying the spectacle should be canceled.
More than 60% of Sturgis residents polled by the city think the event should be canceled this year, reports NBC News.