Petition circulating to cancel carnival at Indiana State Fairgrounds

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A petition to cancel the Fairgrounds Fun Park is gaining some traction as the coronavirus still remains prevalent in Indiana.

The fun park will be a miniature state fair of sorts. The Indiana State Fair has been canceled, but North American Midway Entertainment, the company that usually runs the midway of the state fair, has rented 13 acres at the state fairgrounds for a carnival alternative set to run from July 31st to September 7th.

Jody Madeira is an Indiana University law professor who specializes in public health issues. She tells WISH-TV she started the petition to cancel the event because it could be a contributing factor to a possible new surge in coronavirus cases in Indiana.

“I was mystified because the original state fair had been canceled basically because of coronavirus and yet we had been received news that there was going to be another fair consisting of basically the same things that you would find at the state fair,” she said. “Only this one is going on despite a surge in corona cases.”

The numbers from the state health department still show a modest decrease in the overall infection rate in Indiana, but the number of people going to the hospital with COVID-19 is going up which prompted Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indy Mayor Joe Hogsett to pump the brakes on reopening efforts this week.

“We could say, you know, ‘if you don’t agree with this, stay home’,” Madeira added. “The problem is if we have a super spreader event in our community if we have a fair that opens up at the fairgrounds, if we have a school that doesn’t require masks, then this affects the entire community.”

Surges are happening states like Arizona, Texas, California, and Florida where governors there have also pressed pause on reopening efforts and in some cases closed a few things back down again.

Alicia Thomas, a spokeswoman for North American Midway Entertainment, assures you they are taking all precautions possible.

“Some of the top things we’re requiring masks for all our employees and contractors,” Thomas said. “They are highly recommended for guests. We are providing hand sanitizer and handwashing stations throughout the grounds and sanitizing all the high touch areas and rides.”

Organizers say the number of people allowed into the carnival at one time will be limited as well to allow for adequate social distancing.

State health commissioner Dr. Kris Box has neither endorsed nor denounced the carnival.

“I know from a state-level the concept of the carnival and the ride is still under discussion,” Box said at a Wednesday press conference. “I’m going to have a time here shortly to talk to the CEO of the fairgrounds there about what might happen in August.”

For now, the Fairgrounds Fun Park is still on as scheduled.

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