By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a conference call with Ohio fair directors and managers Wednesday. According to the Governor, after fairs started in June cases of COVID-19 began to rise.
“We are now unfortunately seeing the results of some of these fairs,” Gov. DeWine said. “We’ve had one fair that has had 19 cases come out of that fair alone.”
The fate of Ohio youth returning to school in the fall rests on the operations of Ohio’s fairs the remainder of the season.
“We are really at a crucial stage in Ohio. What you do at your fairs determines if kids are back in school this fall,” DeWine said.
The Governor stressed the importance of the Responsible RestartOhio orders for county and independent fairs.
“We’ve got to get control of this,” DeWine said. “If fairs are going to continue, you all are going to have to control the crowd and make sure everyone is wearing a mask….What we’ve seen so far is unacceptable.”
“The orders are very specific,” said Howard Call, Executive Director of the Ohio Fair Manager’s Association. “If we’re going to get through this, and to be able to remain open, we’ve got to get this under control.”
Although not mentioned in the Responsible RestartOhio guidance, Governor DeWine did clarify that fair boards are expected to work with their local health departments.
“Your health department is going to control whether your fair opens and your health department is going to control whether your fair continues,” he said.
Regarding masks, a representative of the Hocking County Fair asked if there would be a mandated mask order for county fairs.
“We’re going to a mandatory mask for the State of Ohio,” DeWine said.
One fair board member requested guidance on non-fair livestock competitions: “One question that I have though is these ‘Ohio fair expos’ that are going on for two, three, or four days…can you help us get some guidelines for that because I don’t think it’s being followed?”
The governor, who was not aware of the events, had a clear response.
“That just cannot happen. We will deal with that with an order today,” he said.
No order has yet been issued.
The Ohio Youth Livestock Expo issued the following response regarding their upcoming events.