JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – While COVID numbers climb with back-to-back days of 1,000+ new cases the Mississippi State Fair is still on and those running it assure the public they’re taking all the right precautions.
Since the sun went down the foot traffic picked up but nowhere near what it would be in a normal year on a Friday. People are aware the COVID cases are growing but believe they can get around it and have fun.
Since opening its gates North American Midway Entertainment and Commissioner Andy Gipson claim no employees of the fair have tested positive for COVID-19.
“We haven’t had a single positive case,” Scooter Korek of Client Services told us.
“We’ve had events down here at the fairgrounds like a horse show with 15,000 people, were outdoors with open-air,” Commissioner Gipson explained. “This risk is far less than going to Wal-Mart or Kroger.”
Commissioner Gipson points to limits on capacity and making sure all employees wear masks plus wiping down every ride before a new group hops on.
“We also put hand sanitizer stations all throughout this fair, well probably do that forever,” Commissioner Gipson added. “We learned a lot of good things that should have always been done. Our maximum number of people per acre is 200 people. We never got more than 50% of that.”
Not quite, during Sean Kingston’s concert Thursday night several hundred people were drawn to the stage bunched up shoulder to shoulder on the artist’s Instagram story. I showed the storyline video to Commissioner Gipson.
“At the end of the day it’s about personal responsibility,” Commissioner Gipson continued. “The government can’t make people do anything they have to want to do it.”
In the early hours, many fairgoers seemed to agree and stuck to their own groups while carrying their own hand sanitizer bottles and masks by their side if not on their faces. But as the night came to a close lines for many rides were packed and hundreds were bunched in small areas.
“I don’t want to get exposed to Coronavirus and be able to pass it to people,” Sarah Walker stated. “My great aunt she’s around my mom a lot and I just don’t want to give it to her.”
“We’ve been in quarantine a long time and eventually you just have to move on,” Abbey Jacks, a nursing student at Mississippi College said. “As long as you’re staying sanitized and everything I think it’s ok.”
Remember if you show up and don’t have a mask, Commissioner Gipson spent over $58,000 for 340,000 masks to give out to anyone in need. So just ask for one.
There are a few more concerts over the weekend. According to Commissioner Gipson and Governor Tate Reeve’s current executive order for outdoor gatherings, the rules are if you’re in an area where you cannot socially distance by six feet you have to wear a mask.