OHIO VALLEY — The Mason County Fair Board announced that the Market Livestock Shows and Sale are back on as planned and will be Aug. 12-14.
The fair posted via its Facebook page Monday evening around 9 p.m. the following statement: “Due to the governor’s executive order given today, the Market Livestock Show and Sale has been cancelled. However, the fair board is working on options to allow exhibitors to be able to sell their animal. We will announce next Monday how the fair board plans to proceed.”
On Tuesday evening around 9:30 p.m., the fair posted the following update via Facebook, “The members of Mason County Fair Board are still working hard to try to hold a Livestock Show and Sale. We have been continuing to work closely with the governors office to see if this could still be a possibility. We will keep everyone updated as soon as we get any additional information.”
“I have been in contact with the governor’s office, working with them all day yesterday through this morning,” said Mason County Fair Board President Benny Hoffman to the Point Pleasant Register. “They gave us the go ahead to proceed with our show and sale as we had originally planned it.”
The board announced Wednesday afternoon that the show and sale will have the same schedule as previously planned. On Wednesday, Aug. 12, market hogs will show at 9 a.m., replacement heifers will show at 2 p.m. and market goats will show at 7 p.m.
On Thursday, Aug. 13, feeder calves will show at 9 a.m., market lambs at 2 p.m. and market steers at 7 p.m.
The livestock sale will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 14.
The board said CDC guidelines will be followed by wearing masks an “practicing strict social distancing.” Admission is $5 daily.
The Meigs County Board of Health discussed the Meigs County Fair Board’s proposal during its meeting on Tuesday evening.
During the meeting, members of the board of health discussed the proposal and asked questions to members of the fair board — including President Wes Karr, Tara Roberts and Vice President Steve Swatzel, who also works at the health department.
Members of the board of health discussed the following topics regarding the fair:
Individuals at high risk, including the elderly and sick, should stay home and not attend the fair.
The board questioned how social distancing would be enforced. Karr said buildings and gates would be marked with lines to stay 6 feet apart. However, there will not be a fair board member standing at the entry to buildings. Occupancy signs will be posted on buildings. The board then asked if there would be limited gates to have visitors go to one area. Karr said right now, the same amount of gates would be open.
One health board member asked if the camper and parking reservations, which are paid for a year in advance, could be transferred to 2021. Karr said the fair board had not discussed this option and he did not think this would apply to the COVID response plan. Later, the health board came back to this topic and asked if the 2021 camping and parking reservations could be made before the fair began. In a typical year, individuals renew their camping or parking reservations for the next year after the fair begins. The health board member asking the questions said she would like to pay for her 2021 reservation when picking up this year’s pass in the days before the fair, but would likely not go to the fair this year. Karr said the fair board could discuss this and personally didn’t see an issue with the idea.
The health board asked how the campers would be spaced and if they would be facing the same way. Karr said the fair board discussed this and received feedback from the public. He said many of the people who have their campers facing each other are families or friend groups who have been together all season.
Board of health members clarified with the fair board that masks were not required, but encouraged. The fair’s proposal said that masks would be available upon request, but they have a limited quantity. Swatzel said it is recommended that fair-goers bring their own masks.
A board member asked what would be done if the governor required everyone in the state to wear a mask. They asked if visitors would be turned away if they did not have a mask. No fair board member explicitly answered the question. Karr said they cannot have volunteers who work the gates to be the police.
Karr said the seating at the grandstands would be at 50 percent capacity. There would be additional seating areas for people to bring their own chairs. These areas will be marked. Karr said the grandstand seating will either have every other row marked off or would be in a checkerboard pattern. The same seating arrangements will be at the pull track.
Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized every morning and afternoon. The portable bathrooms will be cleaned and sanitized every 2 hours. In addition, the fair board will have 50 sanitizer stations throughout the grounds. The health department will have hand wash stations.
The health board asked if there would be additional volunteers or workers to make sure the social distancing guidelines were being followed. Karr said there are 18 fair board members who “will be constantly policing” the grounds. Karr said if there is an issue with people who are not following the guidelines, the fair board will have a discussion with them.
During the livestock sale, seating will be limited and the fair board is asking that the space inside be reserved for buyers. Swatzel said the wood carvings, which are done during the fair and sold to benefit the fair and youth, and other non-livestock items will be sold in another area. Roberts said the fair board will be shrinking the show ring to have more space. The board will also be asking businesses to not bring several people. The hospitality tent for buyers will have pre-packaged items and no open food.
The health board asked if the fair board could find out what counties and areas the ride operators have been too. Swatzel said the company, which if from North Carolina, has not been anywhere yet and Meigs County would be the first place.
Harness racing will have to follow the racing protocols for the state. Social distancing will be enforced and workers will have their health monitored.
The health board said the fair board will have to be vigilant and keep their eyes on everything.
Karr said there will not be a hard copy, printed premium book because the schedule will continue to be adjusted and modified.
The Meigs County Fair Board will be meeting on Monday, July 20.
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Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.