A federal court on Tuesday upheld New York's ban on spectators at auto racetracks after five of the tracks had challenged the move.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has placed a ban on large gatherings in the state in order to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, though exceptions have been made for religious gatherings.
But sporting events have resumed after fans in attedance: Baseball and horse racing both have held events without spectators.
Five race tracks based around upstate New York, however, sued the state earlier this year over the ban: The Lebanon Valley Speedway, Genessee Speedway, Airborne Speedway, Albany Saratoga Speedway, and Fonda Speedway.
They argued the ban placed a limit on their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble, a claim the court dismissed while also upholding the power of the governor during the pandemic.
The New York State Legislature provided Cuomo with significant powers during a pandemic, and Cuomo’s use of that authority cannot be said to have exceed 'the confines of the people’s constitutional rights,'" wrote U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn.
He added, "A state’s regulatory authority during a public health crisis is wide."