By Associated Press - Thursday, June 25, 2020

GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina stock car racetrack must remain closed and propose a new social distancing plan after a judge sided with health officials in an effort to curb the coronavirus spread.

Superior Court Judge D. Thomas Lambeth Jr. agreed with health officials who said large gatherings at the Ace Speedway could contribute to an increase spread of COVID-19, news outlets reported.

The Wednesday ruling continues to put an injunction on Ace, which requires the track to close and stop operations.

Ace attorney Chuck Kitchen said the speedway will seek an appeal.

The initial injunction, from June 11, came after the speedway defied restrictions on large crowds implemented to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 restrictions caps outdoor crowds at 25 people.

The speedway opened on May 23 with 2,500 or more spectators.

A crowd of roughly 2,000 attended a race on June 6, when the speedway posted a sign saying the race was being held “in peaceful protest of injustice and inequality everywhere.”

An Alamance County health director said that one person who attended a May 30 race contracted COVID-19.

The Department of Health and Human services said while the track is closed, they would allow officials to propose a new plan for operating under restrictions with social distancing.

Cooper issued an executive order Wednesday requiring people to wear face coverings in public when it’s not possible to maintain physical distance.


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