Sturgis City Council member Terry Keszler says they should have postponed or cancelled the rally in March.
However, Doreen Allison Creed, Meade County commissioner who represents Sturgis, says the county lacked the authority to shut down the rally because much of it takes place on state-licensed campgrounds.
“We are either going to be a great success story or failure,” she says.
“I truly believe it could not have been stopped.”
The state’s Department of Tourism has estimated that the annual festival generates about $800 million in revenue.
Neighbouring Minnesota Department of Health commissioner Jan Malcolm called the decision to go ahead with the event “disappointing”.
Malcolm and other state public health leaders have warned that the rally could be a potential petri dish for spreading the virus here and across the nation.
Michael Osterholm, head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says the rally could cause a major virus spread.
“Come mid-August to late August, early September, Sturgis will have one hell of an imprint on this country,” he says.