Usually the site of masked characters on motorcycles would conjure images of rogue biker gangs as portrayed in grindhouse cinema. This year we hope many visitors enjoying a delayed and modified motorcycle week in Laconia will adopt the mask as a new piece of motorcycle safety equipment.
Images of many mask-less, closely packed, attendees broadcast out of South Dakota at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally convinced Governor Chris Sununu to institute the first broad mask mandate for New Hampshire. This mandate will apply to scheduled gatherings of 100 or more people. This will hopefully help to reduce the chance of creating a “super spreader” event.
There are many local small businesses in New Hampshire which will be grateful for the influx of revenue from Bike Week attendees. The employees of these establishments will already be facing risk from visitors arriving from hotspot states. Along with the event mask mandate Sununu also stressed that Liquor Commission agents will be out to ensure that rules limiting indoor “standing around” will be followed. This should give proprietors a higher authority to point to when faced with rowdy patrons’ ire at the rules. Losing a liquor license during Bike Week is not what any participants want.
Of course Sununu’s detractors, including his prospective challenger Dan Feltes, were very quick to criticize the governor’s actions. Depending on which side you listen to Sununu is doing too much or not enough. He has been walking a very fine line balancing personal freedom and local control with public health and safety. So far, the results show he is managing that balancing act very well and New Hampshire is in very capable hands.
Motorcycle Week 2020 may prove the biggest challenge so far in the state’s battle with COVID-19. We hope for a safe and incident free Motorcycle Week this year, with many masked bikers.