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The Taste of Buffalo will return this summer. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced New York is adopting CDC guidelines on masks. (Image courtesy of the Taste of Buffalo)
The Taste of Buffalo will return this summer. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced New York is adopting CDC guidelines on masks. (Image courtesy of the Taste of Buffalo)

Cuomo announces additional guidance for county fairs & local festivals

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Mon, May 17th 2021 03:00 pm

Local governments must permit county fairs & local festivals; NYS DOH approval for events of 5,000+ attendees

√ Capacity limits for fairs and festivals will be based on space available to maintain social distancing, unless attendees provide proof of full vaccination status

√ Fairs & festivals may require masks for all attendees; per CDC guidance, masks are required for unvaccinated attendees in certain settings and indoors where vaccination status is unknown

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced additional guidance for county fairs and local festivals throughout New York. Local governments must permit county fairs and local festivals and consider COVID-19 health guidelines this year.

State Department of Health approval will be required for events with over 5,000 expected attendees, consistent with existing review process. County fairs and local festivals must ensure the total number of attendees is limited so that 6 feet of distance can be maintained between individuals who are not members of the same party, unless all attendees present proof of full vaccination status.

Fairs and festivals may require masks for all attendees and, per CDC guidance, masks are required for unvaccinated attendees in certain settings, and indoors where vaccination status is unknown.

"Fairs and festivals are huge economic generators for communities across the state, and last year they were all put on hold due to the COVID pandemic," Cuomo said. "As more New Yorkers get vaccinated and we continue to keep the positivity and hospitalization rates down, we are readjusting our reopening strategy and allowing more events and attractions to resume. This new guidance will allow our county fairs and local festivals to open at the greatest capacity possible so they can remain economically viable, while still ensuring public health and safety."

A press release stated, “The state's industry-specific guidance must be followed for the applicable activities and attractions present at any fair or festival, such as amusement and family entertainment, food and beverage service, performing arts and entertainment. The applicable Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, such as ‘Guidance for Organizing Large Events and Gatherings,’ should also be consulted, as appropriate.”

In addition to capacity limits, social distancing and any mask requirements, county fairs and local festivals should consider the following as they plan for this year's festivities (per the governor’s office):

Attendee Contact Information: Fairs and festivals should encourage at least one attendee from each party to sign in during ticketing, or before or immediately upon entering the event space, providing their name, address and phone number for use in potential contact tracing efforts.

Health Screening: Fairs and festivals must implement health screening for all individuals, including questions on any COVID-19 symptoms, close contacts, recent positive COVID-19 test result, and compliance with state's travel advisory. Screening may be performed via signage, at ticket purchase, by email/website, by telephone, or by electronic survey before individuals enter the event space.

Hand Hygiene: Fairs and festivals must provide hand-washing stations or hand-sanitizing supplies for common areas and areas where hand-washing facilities may not be available or practical.

Cleaning and Disinfection: Fairs and festivals must regularly clean and disinfect, focusing on high-traffic areas, such as restrooms, and frequently touched surfaces, such as service counters and seats.

Communication: Fairs and festivals must post signage informing attendees of health precautions (e.g., social distancing, masks, hand hygiene) and distance markers indicating 6-foot spaces in areas where lines form or people congregate, unless all attendees are fully vaccinated.

Applicable Guidance: Fairs and festivals should consult the state's guidance for their specific activities and attractions, such as performing arts and entertainment, amusement and family entertainment, food and beverage service, retail and market service, agricultural activities and sports and recreation.

As of Sunday, 62% of New York's adults had received at least one vaccine dose while 52% had completed their vaccine series.

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