PUYALLUP, Wash. — More than a million people attend the Washington State Fair every year. Crowds pack the rides, exhibits, midway and concert venues.
How will COVID-19 change that? That’s not clear yet but fair officials are moving ahead with plans to open the fair on September 4 as the state’s four phase plan to reopen the economy moves ahead.
“If these phases continue to progress as they have the fair would obviously fall under phase 4 which is large gatherings,” fair spokesperson Stacy Van Horne said. “I understand a lot of people are worried.”
According to the fair’s website, “Specific details of safety and precautionary measures and any other new changes, will be provided as we move forward in the planning process. We will make necessary enhanced adjustments in order to minimize the health impacts of COVID-19.” Adding, “By visiting the Washington State Fair, guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”
Does it look exactly the same? Probably not,” said Van Horne. “There’s a new fair normal. We know that that is just the way of the world now.”
The big questions, will the number of people allowed on fairgrounds be limited? Will masks be required? No one knows yet. But Van Horne points out canceling the fair all together isn't just an inconvenience for fair goers. It's a huge economic impact for the city of Puyallup.
“We employ thousands of people so there are job opportunities or job losses for people,” said Van Horne.
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