CNN  — 

The owner of a northeast Ohio racetrack says he has to reopen this year or his state’s coronavirus restrictions will drive him out of business.

Summit Motorsports Park owner Bill Bader Jr. vowed to start holding events with or without government permission, in a Facebook live post earlier this week.

“I’m not asking, I’m opening,” he said in the video and said that he thought that business closures were an overreaction. “If in Huron County, for example, we are able to save every life and limit and ultimately mitigate any outbreaks of Covid-19, but in the process of that we all starve to death, what have we accomplished.”

Ohio had reported 8,414 coronavirus cases and 407 deaths as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Gov. Mike DeWine is one of seven Midwestern governors coordinating plans to reopen the region’s economy. The state has a stay-at-home order until May 1.

In an interview with HLN’s Robin Meade on Friday, Bader said he can safely hold events now and maintain social distancing between spectators.

He said the grandstands at the Norwalk, Ohio, track can hold up to 30,000 people for drag races and he is looking at holding smaller events with crowds of about 6,000 fans.

“We have a half a million visitors that visit the track annually, and I’m not under any delusions that I’m going to set attendance records this year,” he said. “What we do is, we look at events that are manageable, where we can social distance.”

He said the track had about 100 events on the calendar this year, but he’s now hoping to run 18 to 20 smaller ones.

Bader plans to release the track schedule next week.

He told Meade that he can’t afford to wait for the government to lift coronavirus restrictions.

“Obviously, I don’t know when the stay-at-home order will be lifted, but if I don’t open this year I am out of business,” he said.

Bader, 52, said the track has been in the family since 1974 and that he’s worked there since he was 10.

The track normally has 26 full-time employees and hires 430 event staff members. Bader said he’s had to lay off all but three employees, who took pay cuts.

“The hardest day of my life was several weeks ago on Friday when I had to basically lay off the whole company,” he said. “That was an incredibly painful day that I think about often and haunts me.”