NC officials ‘not sure’ about social distancing enforcement at crowded fair food event

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Crowds of people flocked to a fair food event at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds this weekend, with social distancing standards not being met.

A spokesperson with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture said some vendors volunteered to help enforce the rules.

“So no one with the actual fairgrounds is coming and telling people to social distance more?” CBS 17 asked.

“I’m not sure about that, but I will ask and get back to you,” said Heather Overton, assistant director of the public affairs division for NC Department of Agriculture.

The fair food is an 11-day event. More than 20 vendors are there with fair food staples, such as turkey legs and funnel cakes

The event is supposed to be take-out only with no gathering allowed. Organizers said they’re not keeping track of how many people come and go.

“With the capacity limits, why not keep track of how many people are coming in and out of here?” CBS 17’s Bridget Chapman asked.

“Well we’ve seen a high turnover and — we’re not sure exactly how many — but we have seen the parking lot consistently turn over in cars,” said Overton.

Social distancing and face coverings are required. Most people CBS 17 saw Sunday were wearing masks — but not everyone. Some people were removing their masks to eat or drink.

“We do have security out here and they will break up a large crowd, but as for mask compliance, there are some questions there about what can you ask,” said Overton. 

She said they’re evaluating the past weekend to see what could change going forward, but they’re happy to be giving vendors this opportunity.

“A lot of businesses, this is their livelihoods and they have had the opportunity to sell their products,” said Overton.

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