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WCHS Town Hall: What you need to know

Thursday August 6, at 7 p.m. Eastern, the joint leadership council, comprised of members from AHHS, AMHA, ARHPA, ASHA and UPHA, held a Zoom meeting to discuss the upcoming World’s Championship Horse Show with those from the Kentucky State Fair in charge of making decisions for the event.

The panel included from Kentucky Venues: David Beck (CEO), Kevin Moore (General Manager of the Kentucky Expo Center) and Shawn Hensler (Executive Director of Public Safety and Security); from the WCHS: Scarlett Mattson (Manager); from the Kentucky State Fair Board: Hoppy Bennett and Tandy Patrick; and from USEF: Bill Moroney (CEO), Lisa Owens (Competition Services Managing Director) and Katlynn Sacco (Competition Licenses, Evaluation and Safety Director).

Questions were submitted to the JLC regarding this year’s event and what changes will be made to comply with local, state, and federal regulations to combat COVID-19.

It was announced today that the Kentucky State Fair is now limited to just the horse show and the livestock competition. The actual state fair is no longer proceeding, and this changes how many people will be present on the fairgrounds. While relieving the fear of overcrowding, this does change how security detail will be handled.

The Q&A below outlines some main points that were discussed throughout the session.

Q: What will be the protocol for people as they come into the show grounds?

First and foremost, masks are required by everyone. The decisions are still being made as to whether everyone will come in one gate or from a couple. Everyone, however, will have their temperature checked at the gate. Exhibitors will be allowed to take their own temperature and report it to the gate managers themselves.

It is hot in Kentucky in August, so in the event that someone reports a temperature too high to enter, due to the outside heat, there is going to be an isolation room for people to wait, cool down, and retake the temperature. If they come back and their internal temperature is still too high, they will need to leave the grounds.

There will be on-site staff whose job it is to ensure that people are upholding the mask requirement and social distancing protocols.

If you are part of a family from one household that has all been living together, there is a form you can fill out that will give your group identifying wristbands. Each family will receive a number on their wristband. Then if they are all standing within six feet of each other, staff will be able to tell that they are part of the same household and that it is safe for them to do so.

 It is important to remember that when you leave the show grounds, the pandemic still exists. Do not go to a restaurant or bar and feel you no longer have to follow precautions. To keep the show safe, follow all CDC guidelines and limit contact with people outside of your immediate household.

Q: What will happen if there is a positive COVID-19 case reported from within the show?

For this question the panel used a scenario to outline what could happen. The scenario is: Someone stabling in the North Wing has a confirmed positive case of COVID-19.

There is no one simple answer, because the response will depend on where the infected barn is located. For example, if they are located near the back of the barn, not near the entrance, it is possible for that section to be evacuated, sanitized, and then remain blocked off for the remainder of the show. However, if the infected barn is located near the front, by the entrance where many people pass through every day, this “high-contact” area has the potential of infecting everyone in barn. In that situation, the whole barn may have to be evacuated and blocked off for the remainder of the show.

At this time the board is looking at options of relocating barns and horses that have not been infected to other locations on the ground. At this time, it is not known if this will be possible.

Q: Is there a location close to the show that offers COVID testing?

Show officials will work to provide a list of nearby centers that can offer rapid testing for those who fear they may have become exposed while in, or on their way to, Louisville.

Q; What can individuals do to ensure the safety of everyone at the show?

Each individual attending the show has a personal responsibility to comply with all regulations. It is asked that no one “hide” symptoms or attempt to “push through” an illness. To simply put it, if you don’t feel well, do not come to the show grounds.

If possible, it is recommended to self-quarantine for these next few weeks before coming to the show. Everyone has to work together to ensure the safety of all attendees.

Q: What safety precautions have been put in place to protect the show from general unrest in the Louisville community?

There is continued coordination with the Louisville Police Department to have officers on and outside the show grounds. Even though the fair is canceled, the show will continue to have a police presence as well as hired off duty officers and Kentucky State Fair security. With the state fair canceled, there will be fewer people not affiliated with the show, which makes it easier for staff to ensure that those on the grounds have the right to be there for the show. You must have a wristband and be registered to enter.

There will be overnight security provided, as there has been in previous years.

Q: Can barns hire their own security personnel?

Yes. While the credentials and full details still have to be worked out, show staff will allow barns to acquire their own security detail. The board does ask that if you are thinking of taking this route, to get in contact with them and start working out who and when people will be on site. It is asked that these hires come from official security companies. “Bouncers” or “Uncle Bob with a potato gun” do not qualify as official security detail.

The town hall concluded with people asking general questions about the show. The full meeting was recorded and will be available online for everyone who could not attend. If you are considering making the trip to the green shavings this year, it is advised you take some time and watch it in its entirety. Working together, we can ensure a safe and memorable show to honor the breed we all love so much.

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