The Four Corners Motorcycle Rally has canceled nearly all events scheduled to take place in downtown Durango after concerns were raised by some members of the public about the potential spread of the novel coronavirus.
The rally, which occurs over Labor Day weekend, had planned about 20 events at 10th Street and Main Avenue, including a block party, concerts and happy hours.
But Trevor Bird, owner of Durango Harley-Davidson, said organizers decided to withdraw the permit application for the events after an article published in The Durango Herald on Tuesday about the rally prompted concern in the community.
“Based on feedback from concerned people here in the community ... we felt it was in the best interest to cancel the events down on Main and 10th,” Bird said. “We want to be a good community partner.”
Now, the only planned event for the rally in downtown Durango is a 30-minute or so motorcycle parade at 11 a.m. Sunday on Main Avenue to honor veterans, Bird said.
The Four Corners Motorcycle Rally will still hold several events and activities throughout the Labor Day weekend at the La Plata County Fairgrounds, the Million Dollar Highway Saloon and the Harley-Davidson dealership, among other places.
Organizers maintain the rally can be held safely and responsibly, despite the risk of the spread of COVID-19, which has caused nearly every other popular event in Durango to cancel so far this year.
John Oakes, an organizer, said previously that events featuring mass gatherings, such as the Hill Climb at Purgatory Resort and concerts at the Sky Ute Casino Resort, had been canceled.
Other events, such as the Hooligan Dirt Dash, which typically draws 1,500 people, will be scaled down to allow only 100 or so people to attend, though instead of one night, the event has been extended to two nights.
Still, some members of the public expressed concern that inviting potentially thousands of people from all over the country to come to Southwest Colorado could result in a spike of COVID-19 cases.
Rally organizers were required to submit a self-certification form with San Juan Basin Public Health to show that planned events meet local and state public health guidelines.
Oakes said those forms were submitted Tuesday, just three days before the rally is scheduled to start Friday.
Brian Devine with San Juan Basin Public Health said Thursday the rally had submitted a self-certification form for the La Plata County Fairgrounds event, which is under review.
The rally as of Tuesday had yet to receive its permit from the city of Durango to hold select events. A call to Alex Wilkinson, community events administrator for the city, was not returned.
Bird said happenings at 10th Street and Main Avenue typically raise tens of thousands of dollars for Building Homes for Heroes, which helps veterans in need of housing.
In a statement, Oakes said, “We would like to encourage everyone to contribute to Building Homes for Heroes in any way that you can. Check out www.buildinghomesforheroes.org to donate now.”