With traditional summer celebrations canceling their 2020 events, organizers of the Jefferson Township Fair are weighing options for its event, scheduled for Aug. 11-15.
“We’re kind of hanging in there for now to see what kind of state guidelines will be in place for the Fourth of July,’’ said Eric Watson, president of the fair board. “There’s been very little information through the state offices as far as what the governor’s ruling is going to be on that stuff.”
He said organizers would have to make a decision by July 4.
The board will have to make decisions soon because of necessary financial commitments, with booking entertainers and hiring workers, Watson said. Volunteers also need to know whether the event will be held.
Organizers of other Mercer County summer events have already nixed their own plans.
WaterFire Sharon has canceled its July 25 light-up. Event volunteers said at the time they were holding out hope that they could hold the second WaterFire celebration Sept. 19 in downtown Sharon.
The Buhl Day committee canceled its 40th annual celebration, which was to have been held Sept. 7 at Buhl Park in Hermitage.
In April, the Mercer County Grange nixed its fair, which was set to begin on July 21.
Watson said the Jefferson Township Fair organizers hope that circumstances will allow the event to go off as scheduled, in part because this year’s fair is a milestone event.
“This would be our 50th year for holding the fair,’’ Watson said. “That’s one of the things that make this year so special.”
Ohio State Fair canceled
The Ohio State Fair, one of the nation’s biggest outdoor festivals, has canceled its 2020 event.
On Thursday the Ohio Expositions Commission said it was canceling the event, set for July 29 to Aug. 9 in Columbus, amid health concerns over the coronavirus. The commission maintains and manages state property reserved for annual fairs.
Last year, 934,925 people attended the Ohio State Fair during its 12-day run.
“After careful thought and deliberation, we have decided to cancel the Ohio State Fair,’’ said Andy Doehrel, chairman of the commission, in a news release. “Knowing how easily the virus spreads in large groups, we believe it is the safest path forward for the health and safety of all Ohioans. The financial ramifications of hosting a reduced-capacity fair would be too great, and we need to protect the great Ohio State Fair for future generations.”
Total cases move
past 65,000 in Pa.
The Pennsytlvania Department of Health reported 980 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 65,392. With 102 new fatalities announced Thursday, the state now has 4,869 fatalities.
Mercer County added one new case in the Thursday report, increasing the total to 97, with fatalities holding at four.
Wolf: Some counties
could go to “green”
Some counties in Pennsylvania could see practically all of the state’s pandemic restrictions on business activity and gatherings lifted in the coming days, other than social-distancing and health-monitoring guidelines that are in place to help stop the spread of the coronarivus.
Thursday’s announcement by Gov. Tom Wolf — that some counties could get to move to the least-restrictive “green” phase of his three-color traffic-signal reopening plan stages — could become official on Friday.
“So I’ll be announcing a whole range of counties tomorrow moving from red to yellow and the hope is that we’ll also be making some counties that might even be moving from yellow to green tomorrow,” Wolf told reporters on a conference call.
With the number of new infections slowing, Wolf has been easing social distancing restrictions and allowing many businesses to reopen in lightly impacted areas of the state.
It is not clear, exactly, what restrictions, if any, will remain in place in the green phase.
Wolf’s health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, said the Health Department will soon release criteria for moving a county into the green phase of Wolf’s reopening plan.
“As we release the metrics to go into the green zone, we’re also working on what life in the green zone would (look) like, especially for businesses, restaurants, etc.,” Levine said Thursday at a video news conference.
Today, 12 already-announced counties — Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne and York — will move from red to yellow and join 37 other counties.
Eighteen mostly eastern Pennsylvania counties that are home to 60% of Pennsylvania’s 12.8 million residents — including Philadelphia and its heavily populated suburbs — have yet to receive word as to when they will leave the red phase.
Wolf’s stay-at-home order still applies in the red phase, as do many restrictions on business activity that lift in the yellow phase.