State Health Commissioner Outlines Factors Festival Organizers Need to Consider

COVID-19 has left festival organizers with some difficult decisions to make. The Marshall County Blueberry Festival is just the latest local event to be canceled this year.

During Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said there are a few factors that event organizers should be considering: “Can you socially distance? Do you have the ability to have your venue and either have a decreased number of individuals or have a larger venue that you can afford where you can have the number you normally have? You need to make sure that if you’re serving food, that you do that in the safest manner possible. You need to make sure that individuals are wearing masks,” Box said.

But another important thing to think about is who would normally attend. “So if that is mostly our elderly individuals or individuals that are at higher risk for some reason, it’s probably not a great thing to do,” Box added.

Box stressed that events that do plan to go ahead need to be prepared to make last-minute changes, based on local COVID-19 data at the time of the event. But there’s also the economic impact of not holding an event, especially if it’s an organization’s major fundraiser.

Box said the Indiana State Department of Health has helped multiple organizations with their medical questions, but ultimately, the final decision is up to each community and organization.