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Smash Mouth frontman to 'largely mask-less' Sturgis crowd: 'We're being human once again. F*** that COVID s**t'

The group took heat for headlining a concert at the annual motorcycle rally

Image source: WKRG-TV YouTube video screenshot

The rock band Smash Mouth headlined a concert series at the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota on Sunday, despite criticism for agreeing to play to a crowd amid coronavirus concerns.

But frontman Steve Harwell expressed his views on the pandemic to his audience from the stage, stating plainly: 'F*** that COVID s**t."

What are the details?

In a video shared by local outlet KOTA-TV from venue The Buffalo Chip, Harwell can be heard saying, "Now we're all here together tonight, and we're being human once again. F*** that COVID s**t."

Content warning: Language

USA Today reported that KOTA's footage "showed the largely mask-less crowd cheering on Harwell's anti-coronavirus remark as they gathered around the stage ignoring the CDC's social distancing guidelines." NBC News reported that Smash Mouth's concert "drew widespread outrage," pointing to Twitter comments.

South Dakota has successfully been able to play by its own rules during the COVID-19 thus far. The sparsely populated state is led by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who has refused to impose shutdowns that has become common practice by most leaders in the U.S.

Fox News pointed out that South Dakota "has no mask mandate and no limits on indoor crowds," and added that "Noem is keen on welcoming tourist dollars."

According to the Associated Press on Tuesday, South Dakota "recorded 50 more people with COVID-19," with no new deaths and "the number of hospitalizations has held mostly constant."

"But," the outlet noted, "over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 20, an increase of 28%."

The city of Sturgis does have plans in place "to potentially halt the virus," according to Rolling Stone.

The outlet reported:

The city will conduct mass tests of residents over the coming days and weeks. There are also checkpoints set up throughout the area around Sturgis to re-route travelers away from tribal lands to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Native American reservations.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a 10-day event, and an estimated 250,000 people from across the U.S. are expected to attend the event, which ends Sunday.

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