Kansas State Fair to Go on despite Surge in COVID-19 Cases

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas will hold its state fair in September despite opposition from the state’s top public health official and a recent surge in new coronavirus cases.

The spread of the disease slowed in Kansas from mid-May until mid-June, but it has since had a resurgence, according to health department statistics. The state has reported nearly 15,000 cases and 272 deaths overall.

Dr. Lee Norman, top administrator at the state health department, told the State Fair Board on Tuesday that it would be difficult to enforce mask wearing, social distancing and smaller crowd sizes at a fair, The Hutchinson News reported.

“There will be new cases and it will be dangerous,” Norman said. “We’re going, clearly, in the wrong direction.”

The board nevertheless voted to hold the fair Sept. 11-20 in Hutchinson, with some precautions. Patrons will be required to wear masks at indoor commercial and competitive exhibit spaces, and will be encouraged to wear them elsewhere. Crowds won’t be limited.

Citing a spike in Covid 19 cases, a local health official said Wednesday he will order bars and nightclubs to close beginning Friday for the next two weeks in a northeast Kansas county that is the home to the University of Kansas.


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