This is what it looks like in Sturgis, South Dakota, where hundreds of thousands of unmasked bikers are partying like the coronavirus isn't real

horecchio@businessinsider.com (Haven Orecchio-Egresitz)
Sturgis 2020, Trump, bikers, South Dakota
A man wears a hat signed by Ted Nugent as he joins thousands of bikers during the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, Aug. 10, 2020.

The small city of Sturgis, South Dakota, welcomes more than 700,000 bikers each year for its annual motorcycle rally.

This year, the 10-day event fell in the middle of a pandemic. While 60% of locals responded to a government survey indicating they didn't want the event to take place, health and city officials believed there was no way to keep visitors out.

Instead of attempting to cancel the event, they prepared by organizing grocery delivery services for at-risk residents, establishing hand-washing stations, and giving away free masks to those who wanted them, City Manager Daniel Ainslie told Insider

The city canceled nearly all of its daily events in an effort to prevent the dense crowds that normally gather at them.

Related video: Risk ranking of everyday activities for COVID-19

The hospital increased staffing among other extensive preparations, anticipating an increase in emergency room visits. By the time the rally started on August 7, the Meade County had only seen around 80 coronavirus cases.

Mark Schulte, president of the local Monument Health Sturgis Hospital, told Insider that if the event did turn out to cause a spike in cases, the providers were ready to offer care.

Outside of these efforts, Ainslie said the city's hands were tied in terms of putting mask or social distancing mandates in place. Those requirements must be ordered by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

Noem, a Republican, has been vocally opposed to stay-at-home orders. As for masks, Noem discourages their use, even at schools which she has pushed to reopen.

As thousands poured into Sturgis over its opening weekend, few donned face masks.

Bars were packed and, for many, social distancing was not an apparent concern.

At the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, it is like the novel coronavirus — which has killed more than 744,000 people around the world — didn't exist.

Here are photos from this year's event.

This year's 80th anniversary event fell in the middle of a pandemic, but you might not be able to tell based on the crowds there alone.

Jim Urquhart for Insider

Sturgis 2020, bikers, South Dakota
Sturgis 2020, bikers, South Dakota

In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, The Cheyenne River Tribe began operating checkpoints at the reservation borders in May.

Jim Urquhart

Sturgis 2020
Sturgis 2020

Despite concerns of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of bikers and tourists flocked to bars and shops along the city's main drag on Aug. 9, 2020.

Jim Urquhart

Sturgis 2020
Sturgis 2020

Bikers greet each other on the city's busy streets.

Jim Urquhart for Insider

Sturgis Rally 2020
Sturgis Rally 2020

The local hospital prepared for an uptick in emergency room visits from bikers — an aging demographic — who might experience heat exhaustion, cardiac issues, or strokes.

Jim Urquhart for Insider.

Sturgis Rally 2020
Sturgis Rally 2020

Up to 20 percent of locals will rent out their homes or yards to the annual visitors. This year, some opted out, the city manager said.

Jim Urquhart/

Sturgis Rally 2020, South Dakota
Sturgis Rally 2020, South Dakota

It's not just humans who take in the sights at the Sturgis Rally.

Jim Urquhart for Business Insider

Sturgis Rally 2020
Sturgis Rally 2020

Trump 2020 swag and conservative t-shirts are hard to miss.

Jim Urquhart

Sturgis Rally 2020
Sturgis Rally 2020

Leather, body paint, and fishnet are popular attire at the annual event.

Jim Urquhart for Insider

Sturgis 2020
Sturgis 2020

Real Pinard, who recovered from 15 days with the coronavirus, said many rally goers were of the belief that COVID-19 is a hoax in an effort to throw the re-election of Trump. He knows it's real.

Jim Urquhart for Insider

Sturgis Rally
Sturgis Rally

Restaurants were filled with hungry patrons.

Jim Urquhart for Insider

Sturgis Rally 2020
Sturgis Rally 2020

Vendors come in from around the country to cater to the crowds.

Jim Urquhart/Insider

Sturgis Rally
Sturgis Rally

Nobody was tearing these Confederate Flags down.

Jim Urquhart for Insider

Sturgis 2020
Sturgis 2020

Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, Budweiser, and Rockstar Energy Drink are among the many sponsors.

Jim Urquhart/Insider

Sturgis Rally 2020
Sturgis Rally 2020

Locals were encouraged to stay home and avoid the dense crowds that invaded their city.

Jim Urquhart for Insider

Sturgis Rally 2020
Sturgis Rally 2020

Read the original article on Insider