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Gov. DeWine Limits remaining County Fairs to Junior Fairs Only

Governor Mike DeWine addresses the state during his news conference July 28, 2020 via The Ohio Channel

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In his Tuesday news conference, Governor Mike DeWine pulled the plug on full county fairs across Ohio, in favor of streamlining them to Junior Fairs only.

“It’s become increasingly clear, we cannot have a regular, safe fair in the Ohio COVID Summer of 2020” said DeWine. While not directly pointing to Pickaway County, the Governor cited last week’s report of nineteen COVID-19 cases linked to a county fair.

DeWine praised the efforts of organizations conducting the fairs and their attempts to follow state guidelines through discouraging congregation and large gatherings of people on the county fairgrounds plus granting additional funds to help fairs operate safely. However, the order came Tuesday from the state house to limit all fairs to Junior Fairs beginning with those starting on or after Friday, July 31st.

The directly impacts Pike County which was prepared for a full fair opening this Saturday.

The Pike County General Health District released the following statement after the Governor’s announcement:

Representatives of the Pike County Fair were assembling to discuss DeWine’s announcement and were planning to issue a statement following their meeting.

DeWine expressed his disappointment with having to make the order.

“There’s good things going on out there, yet we’ve seen outbreaks connected with fairs. We’ve seen a lack of distancing. We’ve seen, even after the mask order was put on (July 22nd) we’ve seen fairs that clearly were not enforcing any kind of mask order at all… and that’s just a real shame.”

DeWine outlined what the rest of county fairs would look like. “We will preserve the Junior Fair (4H and FFA projects) livestock, photography, rockets, sewing… but, going forward, no grandstand events, no rides, no games, no carnival.” The order will include a curfew of 10pm with exceptions of shows that will run later.

Ross County voted in June to limit its fair to Junior Fair only, placing them ahead of the curve. Ross County’s version of the fair begins August 8th as move-in day for goats, poultry and sheep while the 4H Dog Show will take place. Shows with the aforementioned livestock, in addition to horses, will take place Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The grounds will be cleared at 7pm for sanitizing the grounds before reopening Wednesday through Saturday with rabbits, swine and beef shows.