'Unusual times for us all': Delaware State Fair will go on, with restrictions in place
Here are some of the top stories we're following for Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Delaware News Journal
A pop-up announcement greets you on the homepage of the Delaware State Fair website.
"Exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk in any public location where people are present; we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed during your visit," it reads.
It then lists a few facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before finishing with: "By coming to the fair, you acknowledge and agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with attendance."
The message is not unlike those being delivered elsewhere at larger gatherings, including to those who attended President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this past weekend.
The 2020 Delaware State Fair will be one unlike any other, but the show will go on, assistant general manager Danny Aguilar confirmed Wednesday afternoon during a Facebook Live. Aguilar said officials received notification Tuesday from the state that the fair was allowed to continue.
The 2020 fair, No. 101, kicks off on July 23 and runs through Aug. 1.
"This is certainly unusual times for us all," Aguilar said. "The fair is not going to be the usual setup that we’ve known over the past 100 years."
Gone from the schedule, not surprisingly, are the ticketed concerts at the M&T Bank Grandstand. Headliners this summer were to include Hank Williams Jr., Dierks Bentley and comedian Jim Gaffigan. Full refunds were made available.
Aguilar said the concert cancelations caused a lot of pushback. On the Facebook Live, he picked up a rendering of the M&T Bank Grandstand and pointed out how difficult social distancing would be inside the area.
"We're not happy that COVID-19 is here," he said. "We're not happy that our concerts are canceled."
To figure out safety protocols, Aguilar said fair officials looked at current restrictions at Disney, Universal and Six Flags.
"For Delaware, we are that little slice of magic, and that’s what we consider ourselves," he said. "We took to heart the recommendations by the CDC and state and local officials."
A COVID-19 plan laid out on the fair's website outlines the safety measures in place for the 2020 fair.
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Included in those protocols are daily temperature checks for employees upon entrance to the grounds and social distancing in queues, on rides and in seating areas. The capacity at the indoor facilities on the grounds will be reduced. Aguilar said facial coverings will be required when indoors and inside exhibit areas and "suggested" when not indoors.
There will be hand-washing and hand-sanitizing stations (75, Aguilar said) and the fair says it will enhance its staff to make sure common areas stay clean. Every night at midnight, Aguilar said, the "high-touch" areas will get a "deep clean."
Another effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus will be an arrival system encouraging people to come early and "flatten the arrival curve,” Aguilar said.
People arriving between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. during all 10 fair days will be admitted to the grounds for free, though park rides on most days do not open until 1 p.m.
Those who arrive between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. will pay half-price, and entrants after 4 p.m. will pay full price.
Various signs will be on display around the fairgrounds, too, reminding guests to practice social distancing and good hygiene.
The fair also says guests "will not be admitted to the park" and "should stay home" if within the past 14 days they:
- Tested positive or have been deemed presumptively positive with the coronavirus.
- Sought testing to determine whether they might have the coronavirus and have not yet received the results.
- Been informed that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus or learned that they have been in the immediate vicinity of a person now known to have been carrying the coronavirus.
- Or experienced any of the following symptoms commonly associated with the coronavirus, including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, OR two or more of any of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
Aguilar, who was wearing a #FairStrong shirt during the livestream, said the number of rides was reduced slightly, but the carnival area will still be prevalent and the number of food vendors available would continue to "challenge your caloric intake," but they would be spaced out.
"There's a lot of moving pieces," Aguilar said. "Be mindful. This fair is going to be different, but we're thankful."
For more information on the 2020 Delaware State Fair, visit delawarestatefair.com.
Contact Jeff Neiburg at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Neiburg.