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New York State Fair Is Cancelled For The First Time In Over 70 Years Due To COVID-19

WAER File Photo

For the first time since World War II, New York is cancelling its State Fair.  Governor Cuomo made the announcement Monday during his briefing, saying the decision was made out of an abundance of caution. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said he is disappointed there won’t be a fair this year, but he understands the decision.

The Fair brings thousands of people from across the state to Central New York. McMahon said in order to make up revenue lost from the fair’s cancellation, he hopes the county can figure out how to hold smaller events.  

“Whether it’s just your weddings or just your typical banquets, your smaller things that you don’t think a lot about being economic drivers,” said McMahon. “But it can help you get from negative 20% in sales tax growth to maybe negative 15 or negative 12 if you can get these things going.”

He said smaller events can require registration and guest lists, whereas that isn’t possible with the fair. The county executive is still hoping for financial assistance from the federal government.

Hospitalizations and ICU numbers due to COVID-19 are down in Onondaga County. There were just two people in the ICU on Monday. But numbers among one group of people are rising. McMahon said the county is seeing an increase in young adults testing positive for the coronavirus. While younger people often fair better when they face the virus, McMahon said they need to remember it is still lethal.

“It may not impact you one way if you’re younger,” said McMahon. “But certainly your parents, your aunts, your uncles, grandparents, neighbors. It could have a really, really serious impact on them.”

McMahon is hoping people stay inside this week to escape the heat, which can worsen coronavirus symptoms. Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s all this week.

Katie Zilcosky is WAER’s All Things Considered host and features reporter. She also co-hosts WAER’s public affairs show Syracuse Speaks. As a reporter, she focuses on technology, poverty, and identity.