No Social Distancing, No Masks Required, At Trump Mt. Rushmore Event

President Donald Trump will be visiting Mount Rushmore on July 3 for an early Independence Day event. The Governor of South Dakota has announced that there will be no social distancing at the event, and masks will be purely optional. Anyone uncomfortable with this, she says, should just stay home. The state currently has hundreds of active COVID-19 cases, and dozens of patients hospitalized with the virus.

no social distancing at trump independence day event
[Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

While South Dakota isn’t one of the states with the highest rates of COVID-19 infections, the state’s Department of Health reports that currently there are 807 active cases. While that’s not a huge number compared to some states, bear in mind that the population of ND is only around 885k per the U.S. Census — that’s nearly one in every thousand people in the state currently sick with the virus. The same Department of Health fact page cites 70 currently hospitalized.

On Friday, Donald Trump will attend an event at Mount Rushmore, and according to Politicus USA, Governor Kristi Noem says there will be no social distancing. Masks will be optional.

“We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home,” she explained, adding that masks would be provided for those who would like one.

Even before Trump’s Tulsa rally on June 20 ever began, members of his team were found to be infected with COVID-19, and some unspecified number of campaign staff and Secret Service members were forced to self-quarantine after the event due to possible exposure. Meanwhile, Trump is cutting funding for testing, and his administration has removed screening sites at the White House. According to the Washington Post, social distancing was supposed to be enforced at that event, but the Trump campaign team removed stickers from chairs, moving people closer together.

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