Will Gov. Reeves need to amend executive order to allow for state fair crowds?

Will Gov. Reeves need to amend executive order to allow for state fair crowds?

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You’ve heard the guidance: Wear a mask. Stay six feet apart. Limit the size of gatherings.

So where do big events like the state fair fit into those guidelines?

The Safe Return Executive Order was amended this week, but the current version notes that public and private social gatherings and recreational activities shall be limited to groups of no more than 100 people in an outdoor space where they are able to maintain social distancing.

That number is 50 for outdoor gatherings where social distancing is not possible. That’s far fewer than the thousands who attend the state fair each year. So, will the governor have to amend his executive order to allow for the event next month?

“I do not believe that I will have to amend any executive order to allow for the state fair which I have been very involved in, as has Dr. Dobbs, in making sure they do things differently,” said Reeves.

If not a social gathering, what would the fair be considered?

“It’s more of a business operation than it is a social gathering," noted Reeves. "The revenues that are generated actually help maintain the fairgrounds and other things.”

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba notes that the city doesn’t have jurisdiction over the fairgrounds. Still, he thinks it’s important to have early and frequent conversations about the potential risks and safety measures. He met with the agriculture commissioner Friday.

“It’s in the heart of our city and we have an interest in what takes place and how it effects the public health of our city," said Lumumba. “That struck me as concerning as I saw the trucks coming in.”

Dr. Thomas Dobbs described some of the measures that are supposed to be in place for the fair.

“They’re going to have basically a safety marshal to oversee it," explained Dobbs. "They’re going to ensure masks. They’re going to screen for people going in. They’re going to maintain social distancing. They’re going to have spacing on the rides. So, it’s going to be pretty well engineered.”

We should note that the current executive order is set to expire on September 30. The governor could extend and amend it further before the state fair starts on October 7.

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