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All Big Fresno Fair Concerts Canceled. That's Not Enough for This City Councilman.
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By Jim Jakobs, Digital Producer
Published 4 years ago on
July 14, 2020

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The Paul Paul Theater will remain quiet at the Big Fresno Fair after an announcement that all of this year’s scheduled concerts have been canceled. But Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias says the fair board should pull the plug on the entire event.

According to the Fair’s website, “the Fair has been working with the Fresno County Department of Public Health on a satisfactory plan for concerts. However the Health Department decided it would not approve concerts in the Paul Paul Theater at the 2020 Fair event.”

portrait of Miguel Arias

“I will seek cancellation of our police service contract with the fair if they place our city’s public health at risk by operating as planned.”Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias

Anyone that purchased tickets in advance to the concerts will get a full refund, the website said.

Call to Cancel the Fair

In response to the news, Arias tweeted, “It’s time for the Big Fresno Fair Board of Directors to cancel the whole fair. We will not have a vaccine by October and a fair with thousands of attendees only serves as a COVID-19 ‘super spreader’ disaster. There is no need to put the public at risk.”

Arias told GV Wire℠ in a text message, “I will seek cancellation of our police service contract with the fair if they place our city’s public health at risk by operating as planned. Allowing a super spread event that replicates the current overrun on our hospitals would make the repeat closure and sacrifices that our small businesses have made pointless. The fair must do its part during this pandemic and place our City’s safety ahead of their pursuit for profits.”

The Big Fresno Fair contracts annually with the Fresno Police Department to oversee and work in conjunction with other fair security operations to ensure the safety of patrons. At any given time, there are between 60 – 80 police officers throughout the grounds and at the gates.

Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager II, The Big Fresno Fair in a statement emailed to GV Wire℠ says, “The Big Fresno Fair is working through a spectrum of operational plans with the goal to bring some aspect of this beloved tradition to our community in a healthy and safe manner, as guided by local and State officials. Public safety is paramount to our Fair – a fact that does not waiver.”

The Fair is also updating their safety plans on a website detailing their modified plans.

“The Big Fresno Fair is working through a spectrum of operational plans with the goal to bring some aspect of this beloved tradition to our community in a healthy and safe manner, as guided by local and State officials.”Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager II, The Big Fresno Fair

 

County Health Department in Consultation with Fair

Fresno County interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said he and other members of the county’s environmental health team have met with the organizers of the Big Fresno Fair about whether the event should be held.

“We realized it was still a little bit too early to determine if the curve would be flat,” said Vohra. “I think that by the end of this month we’ll come to a decision.”

“We’re going to give ourselves a couple more weeks to see if we can pull this off. If we can’t then things like the big Fresno Fair will just need to be canceled this year.”Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County interim Health Officer

The Big Fresno Fair board has the final say, however.

“I will tell you it won’t look like what it did last year – even if it does go on,” says Vohra. “We’re going to give ourselves a couple more weeks to see if we can pull this off. If we can’t, then things like the big Fresno Fair will just need to be canceled this year.”

Fresno County COVID-19 Cases Rising

According to the state’s COVID-19 website, Fresno County only has 23% of its ICU beds available. Over the last 14 days, hospitalizations for confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 have increased by 45.2% to 241.

11 more patients are in intensive care, bringing the total to 42. That’s a 35.5% increase in the last two weeks.

An overflow facility was opened last week in Porterville that can handle about 50 patients. Currently they have 15 COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Vohra says it’s very likely Fresno County will need to activate the Fresno convention center as a field hospital to house patients based as local hospitals continue to fill. The extent and capacity of the convention center operation will be determined on how much the state can help in terms of supplies and staff, Vohra said.

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