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Lorain County Fair Won't Cancel; Safety Protocols In Place

The Lorain County Fair will go on despite calls to cancel the week-long event due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

President Kim Meyers said the fair board consulted with state and local health officials to put a safety plan in place.

At a Friday press conference, Meyers listed some of the safety protocols, including mandatory masks for all employees, mask checks for visitors at the entrance, reduced grandstand capacity, and a one-way traffic pattern in the barns.

Fair workers will also work to maintain social distancing between fair-goers in the usually-crowded midway and concession areas, he said.

“We will have people going around that’ll be watching,” he said, “that’ll be politely suggesting to them if they’re too close or people start to bunch up, ‘would you folks please separate out or would you move to another area where it’s not congested?’”

State rules for the 2020 fair season include limiting the number of spectators in grandstands; mask requirements for livestock and exhibition judges and six feet of distance between participants and judges whenever possible; microphone sanitation and more.

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The grandstand and track area usually seats about 6,000 people will be limited to 2,500 spectators this year. [Annie Wu / ideastream]

There will also be fewer people staying on-site at the fair this year, with campground capacity reduced by more than 30 percent.

“That’s been based on walkthroughs and recommendations from the health department.” Meyers added the campgrounds are already booked.

Earlier this week, the Lorain County Commissioners called for cancelling the fair due to health and safety concerns. The mayor of the Village of Wellington last week sent a letter to the fair board citing the number of local COVID-19 cases and the potential for infection.

“There is no such thing as a safe fair anymore,” Mayor Hans Schneider wrote.

But Meyers called the mayor’s argument “naïve.”

“To suggest that the fair is going to bring that in when it’s already here is really misleading, I would suggest to you,” Meyers said. He also pointed out that Lorain County has dropped from Level 3 to Level 2 on Ohio’s state-wide public health advisory system, suggesting the severity of the coronavirus in the county is declining.

“On a beautiful day like today, this is the best place you can be – out in the sun, getting fresh air, and getting vitamin D,” he said, standing in the bright sun with the grandstand behind him.

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Food vendors at the Lorain County Fair are offering drive-up take-out food service Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. [Annie Wu / ideastream]

The fair board has also rejected recent calls to ban the confederate flag. Meyers called it the “constitutionally correct thing to do.”

It likely won’t be an issue this year. The only vendor who sells the confederate flag at the fair will not be attending.

The fair is scheduled to run Aug. 23-30.

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