ACE Speedway must abide by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services abatement order. Judge Tom Lambeth ruled in favor of Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and NCDHHS today in their case against ACE Speedway.
ACE Speedway is to remain closed until they propose a reopening plan approved by NCDHHS. This plan must abide by Executive order No. 141 of Phase 2, which states in Section Nine D that, “Spectators or other attendees at any sporting or entertainment events allowed under this Section must be no more than the Mass Gathering limit of ten (10) people indoors or more than twenty-five (25) people outdoors.”
Judge Lambeth said he “feels great empathy” for business owners during the coronavirus pandemic, however he has to follow the rule of law.
“Our state and nation continue to struggle with the delicate balance between protecting the health of our citizens and the economic wellbeing of those same citizens. My sworn oath as a judge is to follow the law,” Lambeth wrote in his memorandum.
Lambeth wrote that Cohen's testimony "makes clear" that mass gatherings like the one's at ACE Speedway are linked to the increase in the spread of the coronavirus.
"These considerations which are based in science and medicine form a sound and reasoned basis for the decision to restrict the number of spectators at events held at large entertainment and sporting venues like Ace Speedway," Lambeth wrote.
All coronavirus cases in Alamance County since June 13 have been in the general population and not long term care facilities like nursing homes.
ACE Speedway held three races after May 23, all having hundreds of spectators in the stands. Cohen issued an abatement order against the speedway on June 8 after the Alamance Sheriff’s Department refused to cite the speedway. Judge Lambeth ruled the speedway be shut down temporarily.
On June 19 there was a second hearing with testimonies by Cohen and ACE Speedway owners Jason and Robert Turner.
This ruling comes on the same day Gov. Roy Cooper announced the extension of Phase 2 of the reopening for three additional weeks and has placed a mask mandate statewide.
On June 24, Alamance County surpassed 1000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.