DeWine order limits Ohio fairs to junior fair only

By Matt Reese

Though there has been a decrease in emergency department visits and Ohio’s COVID-19 numbers are showing signs of starting to plateau, Governor Mike DeWine announced that all county fairs after July 31 must be junior fair only events.

“We have great fairs in the state of Ohio — independent fairs, county fairs — and our goal this summer was in spite of COVID-19 to try to hold these fairs. Our goal was to focus on the young people,” DeWine said. “To do that, we asked the fairs to discourage the congregation of large groups on the fairgrounds. We laid out some specific guidelines. We also provided each fair $50,000 to help them put on a much safer fair. We have worked with the fairs. We have also worked with the local health departments. Some fairs have done a very good job. As we head into the busiest part of the year with county fairs, it has become increasingly clear that we simply cannot have a safe fair.”

DeWine cited a lack of compliance at fairs with regard to grandstand numbers, social distancing, masks, and limits of people in show barns. As a result, DeWine announced an order for all Ohio fairs starting on July 31 or after to be junior fair only. There will also be a 10 p.m. curfew.

“There are good things going on out there, yet we have seen outbreaks connected with fairs. We have seen a lack of distancing. Even after the mask order was put on we’ve seen fairs clearly not enforcing any mask order at all. That is just a real shame,” DeWine said. “It is clear we cannot have full fairs that are safe. We will preserve the junior fairs, but going forward no grandstand events, no rides, no games, no carnival.”

DeWine re-emphasized that the summer will set the stage for what happens this fall in the State of Ohio.

“My summation is what we do at county fairs and what we do all summer will determine what happens as we move forward. It is going to determine how kids go back to school and whether we can continue to grow the economy and jobs,” DeWine said. “In life we set priorities about what is important.”

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