BLACKFOOT — The Mayor of Blackfoot says he will “not allow the Eastern Idaho State Fair to proceed” if the fair board doesn’t provide an approvable COVID-19 operations plan.
Mayor Marc Carroll issued a letter Monday afternoon saying if the fair board doesn’t create a plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the city of Blackfoot will not host the EISF. Fair Manager Brandon Bird said the fair board has always planned on working with the city and Southeastern Idaho Public health to make the fair safe.
“The Fair Board has lost sight of the fact that the City of Blackfoot is the hosting location for the Fair, and all of the Fair Board and the sponsoring County Commissioners leave EISF and go to their home communities at the end of the day, and leave our city to be potentially ground zero for the onset of the COVID disease,” Carroll said in the letter.
Carroll’s letter stems from the June 25 fair board meeting where the board voted 4-2 to proceed with the EISF despite COVID-19 concerns.
“Right now we have, thankfully, not had that many COVID cases here. But for the fair, we don’t know where people are coming from. They could be coming from hotspots, either around Idaho or Utah, California. You name it. People are attracted from all over the country and from different parts of the world, coming to the fair,” Carroll tells EastIdahoNews.com.
Bird said the fair board has spoken with Southeastern Idaho Public Health and looks forward to working with the mayor.
“We are going to be putting together our plan based on the practical application of doing the best we can within the means of understanding that there is no perfect event,” Bird says.
In his letter, Carroll said if the plan is not an “approvable plan” he won’t allow the fair to happen. He explained that an approvable plan would need to be enforceable as well as something fair attendees will be able to comply with.
“We’ve been successful in allowing golf tournaments, celebrate Blackfoot, the high school rodeo, things of that nature, but they all had to provide us with an operations plan,” Carroll says.
Bird says they will do their part and hopes those who attend the fair will also do their part to make the fair safe and healthy.
“Our outdoor events are something that we need to return to. And for the most part, they can be done safely. And we look forward to doing that and working in conjunction with the help of the mayor’s office and the health department as they give us some direction. We’ll sure take it,” says Bird.
Carroll says he doesn’t think the fair board will be able to create an acceptable operations plan.
“I’d love to see the fair go on, but I just don’t think they can provide a safe environment for people and that’s what we need to be doing today,” he says.
Read Mayor Marc Carroll’s full letter below: