COVID Casualty – Woodward Dream Cruise

Ken Zino photo for AutoInformed.com

“In 1968, I bought a new car and the payments – over $100 a month were killing me. So in 1969 I paid $1700 for a used GTO, and all my friends thought I was crazy – paid too much for it,” Haskell beamed.

The latest victim of the spreading Covid-19 plague in the US is the Woodward Dream Cruise, which was cancelled yesterday after a Zoom meeting of the town officials of the nine cities that are invaded each year along the Woodward Avenue route. Previously the organizers in April and May were in denial of the gravity of the Covid threat not unlike the hapless Trump Administration. (Dream Cruise Delights – Power to The People)

The real public health question remains what will the estimated crowd of 1-2 million enthusiasts of the car culture do during the week ending with the main event on August 15 this year?  Woodward Avenue – a state highway – cannot be shut down, barring emergency action from Governor Gretchen Whitmer, whose office did not respond to AutoInformed.

During the past week, every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases, and daily case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Grand Rapids, Lansing and Kalamazoo regions. Nearly 25% of diagnoses in June were of people ages 20 to 29, up from roughly 16% in May. That shift aligns with national trends, and the evidence suggests that young people may be driving a new phase of the pandemic.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed Photo - Woodward Dream Cruise 2019Southeastern Michigan is in Phase 4 of Whitmer’s Safe Start Plan. This means social gatherings are limited to small groups with social distancing, and outdoor crowds are limited to no more than 100 people. This the fifth step of the six-phase plan that permits all outdoor recreation. AutoInformed opines that this is unlikely anytime soon given Michigan’s growing number of cases and deaths.

(Michigan Update 6/29/20: The risk phase for Lansing has been increased to High Risk, due to the recent 1 week increase above 40 new daily cases per million. The risk phase for Grand Rapids has also increased to Medium-High risk, due to the recent 2-week increase rising above 20 new daily cases per million, as well as the increase in percent positivity during a time of increased testing. Due to recent increases in cases, all other regions are currently being closely monitored.)

“In April, the board already decided to cancel the community events – the car shows, the live entertainment, what I call the bells and whistles – to reduce the number of people who would come out,” said Michael Lary, the president of the Woodward Dream Cruise. “Ultimately, the decision was made today based on our respect for the political will of the communities.”

Ford Motor Company – One of the main sponsors of the Woodward Dream Cruise said: “We fully support Woodward Dream Cruise organizers in their cancellation of this year’s event. The health and safety of our workforce and community is our top priority. We look forward to seeing the Dream Cruise’s return in 2021.”

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About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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