DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Daytona Beach City Commission discussed the future of Biketoberfest, Tuesday night, considering COVID-19 restrictions.
More than 125,000 bikers ride into Daytona Beach for the event every October, bringing commerce to the area.
“It is a very nice boost at the end of the year to help us get through those very tough winter months,” said George St Pierre, who owns Jungle George’s souvenir shop on Main Street.
He said the cancelation of another big event this year because of COVID would be a punch in the gut to the business community.
Commission members did not seem optimistic about Biketoberfest happening.
“Unless they bring us something that shows us there’s going to be some method of safety because being a native Daytonian and knowing what Biketoberfest and Bike Week look like, I can’t imagine us saying this is something we’re going to allow,” said Paula Reed, Zone 6 Commissioner.
“As much as I would like to help the merchants I think we need to consider the residents and their health more,” said Zone 1’s Ruth Trager.
Robert Gilliland, Zone 4 Commissioner, said he is, “not convinced a solution is out there,” adding there would need to be significant consequences for failure to adhere to any plan.
“Any plan that I would expect to see back would have some sort of requirements for what the occupancy would be for those outdoor areas, and what their plans would be for things like stations for hand sanitizer and what their policy will be on face coverings,” he said.
“I will always listen, but it will be a tall order for them to present something I can support,” said Mayor Derrick Henry.
A spokesperson for the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitor Bureau, which is the entity that organizes the permitting for the event, said they do not yet have a firm date for when a plan will be presented.
“Safety is paramount. We will consider what was discussed and talk more with city staff and businesses,” they said.
John Diguilio, who operates Full Moon Saloon, Dirty Harry’s, and other restaurants/bars on Main Street hopes commissioners will look into what surrounding municipalities and Volusia County as a whole are doing about the event.
“They are only going to push the business to the surrounding cities if they ban the event,” he said.
Some business owners agree and tell FOX 35 News that this decision could make or break small businesses in the area.
“It’s not so much allowing people to come into town, but the families that rely on this money to make it through the winter months and buy their kids Christmas presents,” said St Pierre.