Ride and game operators breakdown storm and COVID plans for state fair

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi State Fair has opened its doors for 160 years to bring fun and smiles to families and not COVID or bad weather is stopping it.

Let’s dive into the fair’s storm and COVID prevention plans. Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. the area outside the dome will be opening up to kick off the fair for the 161st year.

But it will look different with COVID guidelines in place and with the potential of a hurricane coming there’s a lot you need to know.

In years past North American Midway Entertainment has participated in as many as 124 fairs and carnivals. In 2020 they’ve only been part of three before Mississippi.

“Played some up in Indiana which kind of gave our COVID policies a run for its money,” Vice President of Client Services Scooter Korek said. “Wherever we’ve gone so far everybody’s been thrilled with what we are doing.”

Masks are not required by fairgoers but are encouraged. All operators and vendors must wear masks and will be screened for any COVID signs before reporting to work.

“Everybody’s been hand sanitizing, we’ve been doing a lot of staff training,” Korek added. “You know if you’re starting to feel ill you’ll have to report it to your superior. We’re doing temperature checks of every staff member every day.”

All surfaces are expected to be wiped down after each guest touches it. So far Korek says no employees have tested positive for the Coronavirus since arriving in Mississippi.

“If we can put some smiles on people’s faces for a few hours and take our minds off some troubling times you know that’s what the state fair has always been about,” Korek continued. “And we plan to do it again this year.”

In addition to a pandemic, a hurricane appears to be headed towards Mississippi during the first weekend of the state fair. Staff is watching to see what might have to close for a while.

“We have a safety director who travels with us wherever we go and he’s in charge of bad weather protocols,” Korek stated. “When we get within 20 miles of lightning all our high stuff gets Closed. Especially with lighting and thunder, you know we start closing some other devices.”

Even if we get rained out the first weekend the fair will still be around all next week offering five new rides for Mississippi. All rides and games expect to open on schedule Wednesday.

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