Protect Public Health - Cancel the Fairgrounds Fun Park at the Indiana State Fairgrounds!

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Just days after the Indiana State Fair was cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19, it was announced that a "Fairgrounds Fun Park" (operated by North American Midway Entertainment, or NAME) will be held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, operating from July 31st-Sept. 7th, 2020. The Fairgrounds Fun Park will be sponsored by Indiana 811 (an "organization established to provide a communication link between excavators and operators of underground utilities").

The Fairgrounds Fun Park sends a clear message: Indiana thinks that COVID-19 is a joke, literally something that can be beaten by fried Oreos, evaded on a Ferris Wheel ride, and outridden on a roller coaster. The Fun Park purports to open at a time when Indiana is at a dangerous crossroads, with skyrocketing COVID-19 cases in Indiana and across the U.S. Moreover, this event will be operating when Indiana students go back to school, increasing the chances of COVID-19 infections that could close schools. 

There is no protocol that would allow this event to operate safely. The safety precautions described are marginal at best, and contact tracing would be impossible in this environment. Fairgrounds Fun Park videos show carefree visitors engaging typical fair activities without social distancing and masks. The Park's "COVID-19 Safety Update" merely advises the public to "stay home if you are sick and follow the health behavior recommendations from the CDC." According to Fox59, the Fair will employ a "full-time onsite COVID Customer and Employee Safety Director" to ensure that components of a "stringent program" are followed, which will only include "employee handwashing and equipment disinfecting; a series of hand sanitizing stations throughout the Park; contactless payment options; plexiglass shields to protect food; and additional sanitizing wipe downs of rides and games." Masks will not be required, unlike other theme parks and there is no mention of whether or how rides will be socially distanced. This is crucial, because carnival rides provide ideal grounds for viral spread, including close proximity to others (who might be asymptomatic) and disease transmission through airborne droplets (particularly from yelling/screaming). These droplets can remain airborne for extended periods of time.

The Fairgrounds Fun Park should be cancelled. Public health and safety deserve first priority.


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