UPDATE: On June 16, Gov. Mike DeWine issued an Ohio Department of Health order regarding county fairs. The order aligned with the guidelines issued late last month (below), with the clarification that animal exhibitions on county fairgrounds are permitted.
Today, after reviewing recommendations from a task force that included multiple Ohio Farm Bureau representatives, Gov. Mike DeWine announced guidelines for Ohio’s county fairs to use as they make their decisions about their 2020 events.
“This will be a partnership between the local health department and the local fair board,” DeWine said. “We have asked them to come together to provide a safe outlet for kids to participate in limited livestock shows, showmanship, skill-a-thons, barn activities, the auction as well as the non-livestock exhibits.”
The guidelines focus on maintaining social distancing, limiting crowds and ensuring the health of everyone involved in the junior fair activities as well as the important component of animal care and welfare.
“The decisions about county and independent fairs are to be made locally,” DeWine said. “Each fair is unique and is different in how it is set up and each faces a different financial situation.”
DeWine emphasized that if county fairs do decide to move forward, their plans must comply with all of the current Ohio Department of Health orders that are in place.
The governor also mentioned that Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda has notified him that ODA is in the process of distributing all state funding that is available to the 94 county and independent fairs.
“I certainly hope that every fair will be able to find a way to be able to allow 4-H, FFA and the junior fair,” DeWine said. “Those are the heart and soul of the fairs and is an integral part of what goes on over the summer for all of our counties.”