A carnival scheduled to begin Thursday in the parking lot of Greenwood Mall will go on as scheduled despite coronavirus-related concerns expressed by some, including Bowling Green City Commissioner Brian “Slim” Nash.
Casey’s Rides Inc. from Utica has begun the process of setting up the carnival, which features rides and food booths. It is scheduled to open at 5 p.m. Thursday and run through July 25.
Nash said he received at least a dozen calls late Monday when the carnival trucks first arrived and has continued to receive calls, Facebook messages and text messages Tuesday.
“This event is going to take place on a blacktop with rides where one person is going to be right behind another person on a ride with sweat blowing on them – if they are talking with the fluids coming out of their mouth,” Nash said. “These are all the things that we know at this point spread COVID. Even if we do have other businesses open, I think we are sending the wrong message.
“I’m not trying to disparage the carnival. They do what they do. I get that. Under normal circumstances I support their efforts to do that.”
Debbie Green, co-owner of Casey’s Rides Inc., said the company presented a COVID plan to the state last month.
The company’s guidelines for COVID-19 safety are posted on its Facebook page. Those guidelines include socially distanced markings placed throughout the midway, customers receiving a temperature check to enter with all employees passing a health check each day and being required to wear masks.
No self-service items such as ketchup or napkin stations will be permitted, but hand sanitizing stations will be provided at each ride. Equipment will be sanitized before opening and main touch points will be sanitized every two hours with rider capacity reduced based upon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, according to the company.
Masks will be required to enter the carnival and will be available for purchase.
Green said the company has been operating in Tennessee the last three weeks and that all staff members have gone through new training in light of the pandemic.
“The main thing that we try to stress to our employees, even though there are customers out there that do not wear (masks), it is about us wearing them to protect the customers,” Green said. “We want to be cautious about it.”
Nash said the carnival hasn’t done anything improper and has applied for all licenses in the proper manner. He added in this instance the city of Bowling Green is a nonregulatory authority and does not have the ability to close the carnival. The only entities that can legally shut down the carnival are the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which licensed the carnival, or the Barren River Health Department in the event the carnival is not adhering to CDC guidelines.
The Barren River Health Department confirmed to the Daily News it is working to gather details regarding the carnival.