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It’s looking better and better for outdoor summer festivals.
Though no specific guidance has been offered, on Monday another peripheral event was approved.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the 2021 “Reimagined” New York State Fair, a special end-of-summer celebration at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse from Aug. 20 to Sept. 6. His team said, “This one-of-a-kind fair will feature New York's best food and drink, live music and entertainment, midway rides, and agriculture education and awareness in four different, concurrent festivals that will take place exclusively in the outdoor areas of the fairgrounds.”
"The New York State Fair is one of our biggest and most exciting tourist attractions that celebrates the spirit of New York and generates economic growth for the region and the entire state," Cuomo said. "I've said time and again that no one wants to open the Fair this year more than I do – and we are finally making it happen in a safe, responsible way with the 2021 ‘Reimagined’ New York State Fair. This celebration is a unique reward for New Yorkers who have made so many sacrifices during this pandemic and will allow visitors from across the state and the country to enjoy some of the best attractions the Fair has to offer with all necessary safety guidelines in place. This is an important step towards the full return of New York's largest events as we continue to reopen and reimagine our state's economy."
The State Fair will take place in four outdoor areas across the fairgrounds, one representing each of the major elements, including:
•An array of food and beverage, including some of the Fair's most iconic culinary experiences, such as the pizze fritte, sausage sandwiches and wine slushies.
•Daily concerts from national touring performers in the spacious New York Experience festival grounds. Among the acts set to perform are REO Speedwagon, Dropkick Murphys, Sheena Easton, Great White and Vixen and the Oak Ridge Boys.
•Amusement rides, games and attractions for all ages on the midway.
•Farm animals on display to introduce the young and young-at-heart to New York's agriculture.
Other Restrictions Easing
In addition, Cuomo said, “To give you an idea of how well the situation is going here in New York, we're going to continue to increase the reopening. This has been conducted on the facts since we began. If you tell me what the positivity rate is doing, you tell me what the vaccination rate is doing, then I can tell you what the rate of reopening is. And as our positivity's coming down, and our vaccination is going up, you're going to see more reopening.
“Today we're announcing that outdoor stadiums can go from 20 to 33% (beginning May 19). So, we'll increase the capacity in stadiums. (As of May 15,) offices can go from 50 to 75% occupancy. Casinos can go from 25 to 50% occupancy, and gyms and fitness clubs, 33 to 50% occupancy, and that is outside of New York City.
“So, the arrows are all pointed in the right direction. We just have to keep the arrows pointed in the right direction, and that is a function of what we do.”
Social distancing, masks, health screenings and all other state health and safety protocols remain in effect.
Cuomo recently permitted:
√ Indoor family entertainment centers and places of amusement to open with a 25% capacity limit.
√ Outdoor amusement parks to 33%.
√ Performing arts and entertainment venues to 33%.
√ The New York Yankees and the New York Mets at 20% capacity.
√ Horse and auto race venues to have spectators to 20%.
√ Movie theater capacity to 33%.
√ Low-risk, indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment – including museums, aquariums, zoos and botanical gardens – to 50% capacity.
√ Beginning May 19, spectator capacity will increase to 25% at large-scale arenas, and event venues, including professional and collegiate sports, and major performances.
Department of Health guidance is available here.
The statewide number of new coronavirus cases is 2.39%. Western New York is still tops across the 10 regions, at 3.53%. However, that number is down from last Monday’s 4.76% – and has decreased daily over the past week.
At the New York State Fair
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancelation of the Great New York State Fair – as did to festivals, concerts and events around the state. This year, the fair and fairgrounds are being planned and prepared in accordance with the Department of Health's COVID-19 health and safety guidance. As public health conditions and the guidance changes, the fair will adapt and adhere to all applicable health protocols, such as capacity restrictions, social distancing, face coverings, and health screening where necessary.
Daily admission is planned to be limited to approximately 50% of capacity for the areas available for attendees to allow for social distancing. Capacity limits will be reexamined and adjusted if necessary to comply with health and safety guidelines.
The fairground's buildings will not be open to the public, except for bathrooms. Attendees will be required to observe social distancing and wear masks, except when eating or drinking. People buying food and drinks will be asked to sit while they eat and drink, and ample tables and dining spaces will be made available. Midway rides, games and attractions, as well as all surfaces of frequent customer contact, will be rigorously and frequently cleaned and sanitized.
Tickets will be sold for each of the outdoor areas, so families can decide which areas they want to visit and plan their day accordingly. To ensure capacity limits and social distancing, attendance at concerts and other live performances will be limited.
Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball said, "After a long and difficult absence, food and drinks grown and made in New York will be available again at the Fairgrounds. Families will once again be able to introduce young people to the animals that are an important part of our state's agriculture. We are excited to welcome people back to the Fairgrounds as a sign that, through their hard work and sacrifice, life is slowly returning to normal."
State Fair Director Troy Waffner said, "We've been honored to have served the state as one of the nation's largest vaccination centers, and are happy that our facilities have been used for blood drives, testing and other aspects of the fight against COVID-19. So it will be a special treat to welcome people back to the Fairgrounds so we can do what we do best – show New Yorkers a great time."
Further details on fair ticket sales and on specific rules for guests will be announced later and are subject to change with the state's health and safety guidance. Visit the New York State Fair website for more information.