Fair comes from coronavirus hotspot in Marshall County to Florence

The traveling fair is a family owned business and passed all inspections.

Posted: Jul 16, 2020 4:54 PM
Updated: Jul 16, 2020 9:51 PM

A traveling fair making its way across North Alabama is now in Florence.

Some people along with the city officials are not happy about it.

The fair is located in the parking lot of Bed Bath and Beyond off Cox Creek Parkway. The fair will be in town through July 19.

Normally, the sight of rides and bright colors of a fair usually brings a lot of people joy in the Shoals, but not in the middle of a pandemic.

"I think it's a bad idea," said Florence resident Christopher Berryman as he looked at the traveling fair. "To be honest I think they need to pack their stuff up and get out of here."

The traveling fair just came from Albertville in Marshall County, another hot spot in North Alabama. Kissel Entertainment owns the fair and told us it’s a family run business from Clanton and employees rely on a paycheck.

When the fair was in Albertville owners gave WAAY 31 a tour of their safety precautions but declined to give one in Florence because the spokesperson is not on site.

There are signs on site reminding people to socially distance.

"If they are doing what they are supposed to be doing in terms of safe distancing and sanitizing and maybe having every other seat on the ride or whatever they are doing, they will have to enforce that. We've asked our police officers to walk through there routinely and make sure they are doing that," said Florence Mayor Steve Holt.

Holt said the city had to issue the business license to Kissel Entertainment after they passed a health inspection, a fire inspection, and got a certificate of occupancy.

"They had all their credentials, they didn't violate any (Alabama Department of Public Health) rules, or any governor's office rules. We essentially had nowhere to go. I've had a couple of people say why not just turn them down and let them sue you. Well, how responsible is that?," said Holt.

Under the Governor and State Health Officers' order, entertainment venues may open up as long as employees wear masks, they enforce social distancing, and clean routinely.

I reached out to Gov. Kay Ivey's office to ask why it's allowing this, and if the governor planned to amend the order. They have not emailed a response.

The number of coronavirus cases jumped by 50% in the past two weeks. There are now more than 60,000 Alabamians who have caught the virus.

"If that were my call I probably wouldn't have them operating. I've said it, I wouldn't go. I wouldn't take my family but I can't stop you from going if that's what you want to do," said Holt.

WAAY called Kissel Entertainment Thursday to ask how they plan to handle the governor's new statewide mask ordinance, or if they would be passing out masks to patrons as they come in. They have not called back with those details.

The mask ordinance lasts until 5 p.m. July 31.

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