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Ohio Department of Health approves reopening of state's county fairs and animal exhibitions

The order comes with plenty of exceptions and guidelines as the state looks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Tuesday, Ohio Department of Health interim director Dr. Lance Himes officially signed the order allowing county fairs and animal exhibitions to open in the state. 

The order comes with plenty of exceptions and guidelines as the state looks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

According to the guidelines, "Fair boards and managers should conduct the fair in a manner that discourages the large gathering of people on the midway or on other parts of the fair grounds. Where possible, the fair should provide one-way traffic in buildings or other areas, where doing so will help people maintain social distancing."

For livestock competitons, the state says they can be held in the same manner as they have in the past with the following exceptions:

  • Participants, spectators, and judges shall, when possible, maintain a distance of six feet between each other.
  • Because judges need to examine the animal and thus will be close to the participants, it is recommended that judges wear masks at least during that part of the judging.
  • Family members of the participants shall have priority in the viewing area.
  • Each family should group together in the viewing area, and there should be six feet between families.
  • Microphones shall be sanitized after each person uses the microphone.

Fair boards are also being asked to consider the use of a virtual auction, although this is not required. 

In addition, the state has issued guidelines for fair grandstand events.

  • The number of spectators shall be limited to one-half the seated capacity of the grandstand.
  • Notwithstanding this, no grandstand event shall have more than 2,500 seated spectators.
  • A distance of six feet should be maintained between seated spectators with the exception of family members who are encouraged to sit together.

Click here for the rest of the fair guidelines.

Although the Cuyahoga County Fair announced that it has canceled this year's event, the Medina, Summit, Geauga, and Lorain County fairs are all set to take place. The Lake County Fair will have a 'modified' Junior Fair exhibition in late July. 

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