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A North Carolina county said Gov. Roy Cooper left them in the dark about reopening a race track that drew a couple thousand visitors after Cooper called the event "reckless" and floated banning large gatherings.
"Alamance County Government officials were puzzled by Governor Cooper’s comments regarding ACE Speedway ... since no one from the Governor's office has reached out directly to the county, even after the county requested guidance and input," the county said in a statement. "Alamance County Government has repeatedly reached out to Governor Cooper and NCDHHS for guidance in how to assist ACE Speedway to operate in a safe manner."
The county estimates 2,550 people were at the speedway on Saturday.
Cooper, a Democrat, said Tuesday that all options are on the table for his administration to crack down on crowds because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"It is dangerous and reckless to try and draw a crowd," Cooper said, referring to Ace Speedway's Saturday event. "And I hope and pray that no one gets sick or even dies from that gathering that occurred this weekend."
"That is a dangerous situation that ought to concern all the local officials and all the citizens surrounding that venue," he continued. "All of the options are on the table for us and we are examining those options now."
Cooper praised NASCAR for running the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway without spectators, unlike Ace Speedway in Alamance County. NASCAR's Alsco Uniforms 500 will be at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday night.
Cooper is also at the center of controversy with President Trump over the Republican National Convention scheduled to be held in Charlotte in August. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state's Department of Health and Human Services, said the administration will work with the RNC to keep the convention in North Carolina, although Georgia and Florida are now clamoring to host.
"North Carolina is now in Phase 2 of easing restrictions but this Saturday we saw our highest day of new lab confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Carolina," Cohen wrote to RNC leaders on Monday. "The status of COVID-19 infections in our state and in the Charlotte area continues to rapidly evolve, thus, it will be important to have several scenarios planned that can be deployed depending on the public health situation."
"Unfortunately, Democrat Governor Roy Cooper is still in shutdown mood [and] unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the Arena," Trump wrote on Twitter.