BUCYRUS — There were mixed feelings at the Crawford County Fairgrounds Thursday, one day after the statewide order for most Ohio residents to wear masks while outdoors in large public gatherings.
Some agreed, others disagree and others can see both sides of the issue.
“I am not against the order,” said Valerie Smith, who is camping at the fairgrounds with her family as her son Noah shows hogs. “It will make getting animals prepared more difficult, but it will make attending the shows safer for everyone as long as they abide by the recommendations. The fair has done their best to try to make the fair safe this year.”
Leslie and Tad Eickholt usually attend to munch on some of their favorite fair foods, but with the mask order going into effect at 6 p.m. Thursday, Tad said he would not be back this year. However, his wife Leslie is on the fence about the mask order, pointing out there are some conflicting reports from reputable sources about the safety of wearing a mask.
“I have mixed emotions to be honest,” Leslie said. “You get two different stories from doctors and nurses, so what do you really believe? They can throw statistics and graphs at me, but when you’ve got doctors against doctors and nurses against nurses, it just makes the whole thing too confusing.
“On the other hand. Just wear the darn masks so we can get rid of this,” Leslie continued. “If it’s legit, let’s just get rid of it. I’m just sick of it and if masks will work — I don’t know — but if they will work, let’s just wear them and be done with this. Does it make me happy? No. Because I can’t stand my glasses fogging up and when I’m hot and I put a mask on my face, it just makes it worse.”
Leslie didn’t think the mask requirement would have an affect on fair attendance.
“If people want to come to the fair, they are going to come to the fair,” she said. “You might see a few people not come because of it, but for the most part I think people will still come.”
That sentiment was shared by Crawford County Agricultural Society President Roger Auck, who said the mandatory mask requirement should not have much effect on the rest of the fair.
“Well, if you’re 10 and under you don’t need to wear them,” he said. “And if you’re not in a confined building you don’t have to wear them. And if you keep social distancing you don’t need to wear them. All week it’s been going good. The night of the calf scramble we looked up into the grandstand and people were scattered all over the place, nobody was packed in tight. And during the horse races last night, nobody was packed in tight. Even in the shows, we have every other seat marked off like suggested. Families sit together, but families can.”
Tad Eickholt is not convinced the marks are needed and he doesn’t think Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine can tell anyone to wear one.
“It is a massive unconstitutional overreach,” he said “If a business wants to say you have to wear a mask to come in, that’s within their rights. But the governor does not have the constitutional right to say you have to wear a mask everywhere you go. I think it’s a small step down a road where the government has absolute control.
“I wear a mask at work because I have to, but I don’t go out much anywhere else. And after the fair today I won’t be back because I don’t want to wear a mask,” Tad said. “If people have to wear a mask to the fair I think some people won’t go. And the kids aren’t going to wear the masks right. They won’t keep them on or keep their hands off their masks. I don’t see where it’s that effective in practical use.”
Auck hopes others aren’t thinking the same way. And he hopes visitors will take note that fair workers are doing all they can to prevent spread of COVID-19
“I just hope people still come out to the fair,” he said. “We’ve been doing everything the health department has asked us to do. We’re sanitizing, we have people in the restrooms cleaning constantly. We’re disinfecting between shows. We do that in the grandstand, the bleachers and even the benches out in the park. We even have guys going out cleaning the picnic tables several times a day.