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Cancel the U.P. State Fair

EDITOR:

Like other people in the area who have spoken about this issue, this letter is a call for the cancellation of the U.P. State Fair in 2020. To date there have been a number of annual events in this region which were called off due to the coronavirus, which we all know has swept across the United States. While the Upper Peninsula and Delta County have not suffered to the same degree as the rest of Michigan, hosting a big gathering like the fair is undeniably going to create a major spike in the number of local COVID-19 cases.

I went to the official U.P. State Fair website to see what has been mentioned about their taking any precautions about the virus; as of this writing, there is nothing. The only hint that something has occurred is two canceled U.P. State Fair Authority Governing Board meetings (in March and May). In light of all that has happened, this seems almost out of touch with reality. There will be some distancing in the grandstand seating for events I understand, but this still won’t prevent people from passing by near each other.

Even if you do accept that this grandstand protocol is adequate, there are too many other things which can contribute to the spread of the virus. Can social distancing be enforced in any realistic manner throughout the midway? Will face masks be required inside the exhibition buildings? How about cleaning rides and objects held and tossed at booths to win prizes in between customers? And what about the food vendors providing safe eats and drinks, including condiments which haven’t been handled by everyone else?

In my mind there just seems to be too many questions about why it should go forward this year; it looks to me as if the U.P. State Fair Authority has ignored all the above mentioned issues. My earnest wish is that they call it off for 2020 and bring it back in 2021, by which time the virus will almost certainly be under control with an effective vaccine. Nobody likes what the pandemic has done to our society, but let’s not be foolish like some other parts of the country have been and try to conduct “business as usual.”

Roy Webber

Escanaba

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