Seneca County Health Commissioner Beth Schweitzer took to social media Tuesday to provide an update regarding the Seneca County Fair.
Schweitzer said in a Facebook post to the Seneca County General Health District page that she has been in touch with the fair board to discuss COVID-19 safety.
She says the fair board is requiring masks for people to enter and handing them out if people don’t have them. Fair officials had made people leave the grounds for refusing to wear masks, according to Schweitzer.
Schweitzer also said that if bleachers at a show get too full, the show will be stopped until people are properly socially distanced. The judges stop the shows and make the exhibitors put on their masks before resuming, she said.
The fair, which started Monday and runs through Sunday, has been a subject of concern for local health officials, with Schweitzer previously saying she regrets not advising the fair board to cancel this year’s event.
“Looking back, now I believe I probably would have been wise to advise both fair boards that this would not be a safe decision,” Schweitzer said. “At the time, things looked very good here in the county, and unfortunately [now] they don’t. And I’ll be honest, I think I made a mistake. We all make mistakes.”
Schweitzer said during a Facebook Live briefing on the coronavirus last week that the Seneca County Fair will “surely cause the spread of the virus.”
“I know all too well that there are many people who do not follow the recommended guidelines and best practices of keeping that social distance and wearing masks,” Schweitzer said. “And I’m talking about again, keeping that distance from others, using hand sanitizer frequently… And wearing a mask. I know there’s so much controversy about this, but I am a firm believer, and I think there’s been enough research done that shows that we can prevent the spread to others if we are mindful of doing that.”
Schweitzer said she’s tried “very hard to understand” why some people are opposed to wearing face masks.
“But it is becoming harder and harder for me as I see how lack of the use of these methods is affecting the number of our cases.”
The Seneca County Fair Board announced Tuesday that it has canceled the demolition derby event at this year’s fair, saying the decision was made due to the increase in COVID-19 cases locally as well as concern about the “non-compliance in wearing masks.”
There are 86,497 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,382 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon. A total of 10,425 people have been hospitalized, including 2,488 admissions to intensive care units.