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Officials urge bikers to sit out traditional Friday the 13th motorcycle rally


PORT DOVER, Ont. — Local and provincial officials are calling on bikers to sit out their traditional Friday the 13th pilgrimage to Port Dover, Ont., because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hordes of motorcyclists typically descend on the beach town every Friday the 13th, with provincial police regularly reporting upwards of 100,000 attendees. 

The mayor of Norfolk County, where Port Dover is located, says she knows that the motorcycle rally is important to the community, but that going ahead with it would put the area at risk. 

Kristal Chopp says that if people don't sit out this event, it could lead to a spike in cases that would force the province to put further public health restrictions on the area. 

The Friday the 13th rally isn't a formal event, so the county isn't able to "cancel" it, but officials note that they've taken steps to discourage attendance, such as refusing to grant permits to vendors. 

Premier Doug Ford says he understands that thousands of people were looking forward to the rally, but that this year, it's just not feasible. 

"Folks, we just can't have thousands of people getting together right now," he said on Thursday. "It's just way, way too risky." 

Provincial police have also sent out a reminder about current public health restrictions imposed by the province. 

They say that the area is currently classified as a "yellow" zone by the province, so anyone who "must" attend the rally should familiarize themselves with the rules. 

"Please make sure you always wear a mask, sanitize your hands and remember that if you are outside there is to be no more than 25 people in a group," police said. "If you are indoors, that means no more than 10 people at any given time."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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