Despite coronavirus, large crowds are anticipated for the second weekend of Bike Week.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Despite coronavirus concerns, Bike Week in Volusia County is still ago. Bike Week runs from March 6-15.
Locals who organize Bike Week events in Daytona’s Black community say they aren’t too concerned but are watching developments.
As of Wednesday, two Volusia County women in their 60s had been diagnosed with the virus. The women are under quarantine.
Activities peak in the Black community during the second weekend (March 13-15) of the event along Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard (historically Second Avenue).
“We are cautious, but we’re not over reacting. I’ve heard some bikers address concerns. I think we’ll be OK, said Barbara Turner-Hymes, spokesperson for the Second Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA), which organizes events along Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard.
Patricia Heard, owner of Second Avenue Plaza, say people are still on the way.
“I am getting calls from people who say they are coming. People are headed this way. Nobody has called and talked about they aren’t coming because of the situation. It is something to pay attention to,” she told the Daytona Times.
Chester McNorton of C-Styles Entertainment, which handles entertainment for SAMA on the Boulevard, also is watchful but not worried.
“I’m not too concerned. It’s something to watch. Authorities are urging
calm. They are urging the public not to panic unless you have breathing issues,” he noted.
“We want everyone to be safe and healthy. We still expect big crowds. We want people to come and have a great time.’’
Weekend events will include live music on a stage at the corner of Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard and Walnut Street. Music is being played just about all day and night. Line dancing also is billed as an activity.
On Wednesday and Tuesday, biker activity was increasing long Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard and adjacent areas. More vendors had set up.
“We are expecting big crowds. People say they are coming. The only vendors who said they aren’t coming are the ones who are from Tennessee and was affected by the tornado,” said Turner-Hymes.
Bikers taking precautions
Bikers who are already here are optimistic.
A biker, who refers to himself as “Price Tag’ was hanging out at Second Avenue Plaza on Tuesday afternoon.
He told the Times, “This is my third year coming to Daytona. I came from North Carolina. I came on Monday. I enjoy being here. I come to support the Black businesses, particularly the eateries. We’re watching the coronavirus developments and taking precautionary measures by being as sanitary as possible.”
A biker, who goes by the name of Rocky, said he came down from Nashville.
“I came here from Nashville, Tennessee on Monday. I’m just able to come early. It’s my second year here. It’s nice. We’re just watching the coronavirus situation like everyone else. We’re also taking precautionary sanitary matters,’’ he related.
Over on Main Street, crowds were already growing days during the first weekend.
Krista Goodrich, co-owner of The Pallet Pub, also expects large crowds. “We were open for Biketoberfest and did great. We’re expecting even larger crowds for Bike Week. We are concerned about the coronavirus. It has less people flying,’’ Goodrich said.
“Looks like more people are driving. The weather is expected to be great as well. This is our first Bike Week. We’re excited. We opened last year a week after Bike Week.”