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Mid-MI county fairs keep COVID precautions as case counts rise

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 4:54 PM EDT
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CHESANING, Mich. (WJRT) (8/3/2021)--As case numbers again being that inexorable upward climb, those large, crowd-heavy summer events continue regardless.

Concerned they’ll have a super-spreader situation on their hands, many have taken a proactive stance and kept any number of precautions in place.

Sprinkled in among the bright bulbs and thrills of the midway and that famous fried fare…

The Saginaw County Fair has its work cut out keeping an uninvited pest at bay: its ‘rona season once again and that means an added emphasis on safety.

“We really hope it goes well and we think, after a year of preparation, we’re pretty prepared to keep everything safe,” Brett Russell, one of the Fair’s directors told ABC12

But that’s not a formality. Most of those long-standing restrictions are now strictly off the state’s books. Compliance is now voluntary.

New guidelines from the CDC call for donning those masks again, especially indoors where the risk is highest. Experts break that down county by county, which shows Saginaw shaded in bright orange, indicating a substantial transmission risk.

“We’ve tried to be as proactive as we could.”

Huron Community Fair President Clark Brock told ABC12 the year off had given them plenty of time for a reality check during the planning phase. Preparing for the worst, he said, meant they would be ready to face the proverbial music. On site, Brock said the Fair had deployed a full complement of those now ubiquitous sanitizing stations and would use an atomizer to sterilize high traffic areas.

“We’re very aware of the fact that we have the largest happening in the county… we don’t want our name in the paper,” he said. “We work very hard doing good things for people and encouraging people to do the right thing.”

“Health and safety is our number one goal to keep everything top notch,” Rachael Wirostek, the Saginaw County Fair’s executive director told ABC12.

Back in Chesaning, masking is optional but encouraged, especially for the unvaccinated crowd. Planners said they would be ready to fall in line if and when they heard anything from local health officials.

“We’re always on standby because we never know what could happen in the middle of the week, so we are prepared.. .to go whichever direction we need to go,” Wirostek related.

State health officials have already identified several outbreaks related to large scale events in West Michigan, including a motorcycle event linked to 16 cases.

The Saginaw County Fair opened Tuesday and runs through August 7.

The Huron Community Fair opened Sunday and also runs through the 7th.

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