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Researchers say Erie County Fair can go on as planned this year

Fair organizers are working with a national health data company, Epistemix, to forecast the impact the fair would have on COVID-19 cases in WNY.

HAMBURG, N.Y. — The Erie County Fair can go on as planned this summer, that's according to a national health data company.

Fair organizers partnered with Epistemix which looks at the number of cases, vaccines and other factors to predict how many COVID-19 cases would be linked to an event.

In the case of the Erie County Fair, which is tentatively scheduled for August 11- 22, the data shows the event can still happen, with no precautions and have a limited impact on COVID-19 numbers locally. 

"In all these simulations, it would be safe to have the event and there would not be an excess number of infections because of the forecasted level of immunity in Erie County," says John Cordier, the CEO of Epistemix.

In 2019, 1.2 million people attended the fair over the 11-day run. Jessica Underberg, the CEO and Manager of the Erie County Fair, says they will do all they can to encourage social distancing, especially in lines, but emphasized it will come down to personal responsibility. Underberg also mentioned that most people who come to the fair come with the people in their household, so there wouldn't be a need for social distancing in those situations. As of now, according to Underberg, the fair is not planning on requiring a vaccine or negative COVID-19 test result to attend.

Erie County Fair organizers will be joined by Epistemix representatives for a meeting on Tuesday with local and state health officials to share what the data is showing. Underberg says, "because we don't have guidance, so we are reaching out to see what we can do to get that moved along." 

Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to issue guidance for local county fairs, but has said that the New York State Fair in Syracuse will go on as planned this year with capacity limits.

RELATED: Erie County Fair waits on the state, county for opening guidance

On April 26, Underberg told 2 On Your Side, "We want to have a fair. And it is in our plan to have a fair. But if that guidance is 10 percent and you need all these other boxes ticked - it may not make sense."

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