The Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, has stated that she does not plan to implement physical distancing measures for the upcoming celebration at the Mount Rushmore monument for America's Independence Day, according to the Washington Examiner.
While speaking on Fox News, the Republican Governor said that she will not limit the size of the crowd nor enforce the social distancing measures that have been recommended by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Noem told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that anybody who has fears about contracting the virus can make alternative plans.
Noem was one of only a handful of governors who refused to shut down their state in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a decision for which she received much backlash.
Yet, South Dakota has one to the lowest COVID-19 deaths per capita in the US.
The outbreak has been relatively small in South Dakota and the state has a positive testing rate of 6.36 percent, which is above the CDC's recommended five percent.
"We've told people to focus on personal responsibility. Every one of them has the opportunity to make a decision that they're comfortable with. So, we will be having a celebration of American independence. We will have a large event on July 3rd. We told those folks to have concerns that they can stay home," said Noem.
Noem went on to say, "But those who want to come and join us, we will give out free masks if they choose to wear one, but we won't be social distancing. We are asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties we have in this country, and to talk about our history and what it brought us today with an opportunity to raise our kids in the greatest country in the world."
The Mount Rushmore fireworks celebration will be held on Friday and it will mark the first time in 20 years that the monument has been host to a fireworks display. US President Trump is scheduled to be in attendance.