Back in March, 2020, Daytona Bike Week was originally scheduled to happen as usual. Right around that time, if you’ll recall, was when the coronavirus pandemic started to spread significantly in the U.S. As a result of its usual timing, last year’s Bike Week managed to straddle both the old-normal and the new-normal. While the first days were business as usual, the final days were canceled due to COVID precautions.
Later in the year, Daytona Beach officially declined to host Biketoberfest 2020—although the event ultimately just moved up the road instead. So, now that it’s February, 2021, what’s happening with this year’s Bike Week?
For a start, 2021 marks the 80th anniversary of Daytona Bike Week—a milestone that organizers certainly didn’t want to let go unmarked. While plenty of street vendors that show up aren’t local, the local businesses in the area put pressure on the city council to hold Bike Week 2021 as usual.
After heated local debate, Daytona Beach city commissioners agreed to let Bike Week 2021 run as usual. The 10-day event will happen between March 5 and 14, 2021. However, there are a few concessions to the fact that we’re still dealing with a global pandemic that has so far killed 455,882 people in the U.S. and 27,247 in the state of Florida as of February 5, 2021.
At a city commissioner meeting in January, the council agreed to issue outdoor permits to local businesses for the event. However, this agreement came with the stipulation that bars, restaurants, and shops in the area would limit indoor occupancy to 60 percent during Bike Week events. Participating businesses also submitted detailed plans regarding cleaning, hand sanitizer stations, mask enforcement, social distancing, signage, and temperature checks.
Rules don’t work without the possibility of negative consequences, however—and city commissioners set those up, as well. If property owners violate this agreement, they could find themselves in a world of hurt for the next three Bike Weeks. Punishments include an outright ban from renting their property to outdoor vendors, or for parking purposes for those future events.
It’s worth noting here that businesses that don’t have additional outdoor activities happening right outside their doors during Bike Week can still have 100 percent occupancy, under current rules. Tensions are high in the area, as local businesses and employees know that Bike Week brings in a ton of money every year. They don’t want it to also bring in a ton of COVID-19 infections for local residents, of course.