ACE Speedway can reopen despite governor’s executive order, sheriff says; ‘I will not enforce an unconstitutional law’

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — ACE Speedway is set to reopen on Saturday, and Alamance County law enforcement does not plan to stand in its way, according to Alamance County Government.

Clyde Albright, county attorney, said that the right to peaceably assemble is protected under the First Amendment, and the language under Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order makes a strong recommendation but cannot forbid such gatherings.

“The Governor recognizes that he may only urge people engaged in exercising First Amendment rights to practice social distancing and other disease control measures,” Albright said. “He cannot Constitutionally limit the number of people who can peaceably assemble under the First Amendment.”

The attorney says that, if Alamance County were to try to restrict the operation of a business not otherwise restricted by Executive Order 141, the county would be in violation of the First
Amendment.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said, “When I took my oath of office, I swore to uphold the United States Constitution. I will not enforce an unconstitutional law. Upon hearing the opinion of the County Attorney, I do not intend to stop ACE Speedway from opening on Saturday, May 23.”

Alamance County leaders say ACE Speedway has been in close contact with the Alamance
County Department of Public Health to determine the best health and safety precautions.

ACE plans to screen attendees and provide rosters to the Health Department in case contact tracing is necessary.

In the pit, each car will be separated by at least 10 feet, and crews are recommended to wear masks and observe six-foot social distancing.

Infield, there will be at least 10 stations where people can get alcohol hand sanitizer.

Some areas in the grandstands will be marked off so guests can social distance.

Bathrooms will be disinfected regularly, and high-touch areas will be disinfected every hour.

Plexiglass partitions have been installed where needed.

All Alamance County residents are strongly encouraged to follow the recommendations to promote social distancing and reduce transmission, including maintaining at least six feet from other individuals, wearing a face mask, using hand sanitizer, frequently washing hands, and remaining home if sick.

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