Utah State Fair opens for another year — with precautions

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Emmy Doney, right, puts her straw under her mask as she gets slushies with her mother, Cassie, and brother Ryder, 4, left, and sister Brielle, 5, at the Utah State Fair at the fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.

Emmy Doney, right, puts her straw under her mask as she gets slushies with her mother, Cassie, and brother Ryder, 4, left, and sister Brielle, 5, at the Utah State Fair at the fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens gathered outside the Utah State Fairpark Friday to enjoy the second day of the 2020 Utah State Fair. Unlike years past, however, many were wearing masks while standing in line — the first visible sign that this year is a bit different than most.

Masks are now a ubiquitous part of life with COVID-19, and the fair — named “A September to Remember” — requires patrons to wear them while inside the park. But what else was different about an event held during a global pandemic — one that draws tens of thousands of people together each year?

Most of the modifications are simply following government guidelines and common sense, according to Annie Hemmesch, the director of marketing for the Utah State Fairpark board of directors.

“It is the same that you’ve been hearing about other places,” she said. “Six-foot social distancing, masks are required, we’re at specific capacity.”

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Berta Murillo’s hair goes flying as she takes a ride with her sister, Kendra, 5, at the Utah State Fair at the fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.

In addition to these measures, the fair also enforces new sanitation policies and implemented an app that allows for contactless transactions. Fairpark employees, including vendors, are required to follow a safety protocol checklist, and the sanitizers the park uses are “hospital grade.”

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All modifications were developed over months of planning, with the board having to present various designs to government entities for approval in order to hold this year’s state fair.

“We have developed (a plan) basically keeping in mind with the Utah Department of Health, the Salt Lake City mayor, the governor and the state of Utah overall in accordance with what’s been drafted by the government,” Hemmesch said.

Perhaps because of the precautions, the fair is able to maintain most of its annual events, including the majority of carnival rides and arena events, 4-H activities, petting farms and pony rides, according to Hemmesch.

The execution of these events looks slightly different in some cases, however. For instance, going on rides may take longer than usual as workers are required to sanitize touchable surfaces after each run-through. Seating for arena events is also not being offered at full capacity, with “pod” seating available to ensure social distancing.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
A sign indicates that people must eat only in designated areas, part of the Utah State Fair’s COVID-19 precautions, at the fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.

Most of the actual event shutdowns had more to do with extrinsic circumstances rather than the park itself. Hemmesch referenced …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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