An annual carnival held in the Towne Square Mall parking lot begins today and lasts through Aug. 8. Representatives for both the Green River District Health Department and Casey’s Rides said restrictions will be in place to keep the public as safe as possible.
Debbie Green, co-owner of Casey’s Rides, said the carnival has already had successful runs in Tennessee and Bowling Green this summer.
All patrons must wear face masks and have their temperatures checked upon arrival. There will be a fence around the carnival’s perimeter, and only one entrance and exit will be available.
“We’ll have markings in place for the lines to encourage social distancing and markings placed throughout the midway to remind them of social distancing,” Green said. “The midway is the walking path that circles around the rides and between the rides, and it’s double the size it normally is.”
The rides have been spaced out so they’re further apart from each other, Green said.
While Casey’s Rides holds an annual carnival in Owensboro, it normally happens in early spring. This year’s carnival is being held during the summer because of the high number of county fairs that have been cancelled.
“The carnival, when it comes to town, it’s for the people who can’t afford to go to Disney World and other high-price parks like that,” Green said. “We provide affordable events for the community. There might be a lot of people who are against us having this carnival, but if you’re insecure about the carnival being held, then don’t go.”
The Health Department did implement an additional mandate for Casey’s Rides, Green said. Each person who purchases tickets must provide their name and phone number at the counter. Green said her team has been in discussions about how to record those names and numbers safely.
Health Department Director Clay Horton said the carnival falls under the Healthy at Work guidelines for venues and event spaces. According to those guidelines, the carnival must limit the persons present in any venue or event space to 50% of the maximum permitted occupancy capacity; encourage social distancing; minimize the use of waiting areas; make reservations and/or sell tickets online or by phone to the greatest extent practicable; and ticketing, admission and registration employees should be shielded by glass or plexiglass and use appropriate personal protective equipment to the greatest extent practicable.
Events like carnivals must also promote and enforce social distancing and masking requirements when attendees and staff are in close proximity or passing by one another, develop one-way traffic routes, and post social distancing signage to avoid excessive congregation.
Carnivals must also require exhibitions, tables and booth placements to allow for six feet between fellow exhibitors. When possible, exhibitors are encouraged to use a physical distance barrier to create distance from attendees.
Carnival employees must wear masks at all times and follow social distancing protocols. A plan must also be developed and implemented to ensure the facility — including offices and workstations — are properly cleaned and ventilated routinely.
Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected with appropriate disinfectants. These surfaces include doorknobs or handles, buttons, rails, rental equipment and counter tops. Areas that are prone to frequent touching, such as ball pits, must be closed if they cannot be properly sanitized.