A Maritime midway is setting up rides and concessions on the Fredericton exhibition grounds in an attempt to recoup losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But this year’s carnival attendees should expect a completely new experience.
At the entry point to the midway, we will be administering active screening,” said Nathan Smithers, manager of East Coast Amusement.
Smithers said screening for COVID-19 will include temperature checks.
He said the staff will be contact tracing, “as per the government regulations so that if there are any incidents, it can be traced back to anybody who visited.”
With large scale festivals and fairs cancelled amid the pandemic, Smithers said the company is trying to recoup losses by holding smaller, stand-alone attractions across the Maritimes now that restrictions have loosened.
“It is versus zero revenue or some revenue,” he said.
In order to open this weekend, the company had to follow strict COVID-19 protocol to get approval from the province to open.
Masks won’t be mandatory, but they will be strongly encouraged, Smithers said.
The midway will also help generate some revenue for the NBEX event that was forced to cancel almost all of its major attractions for 2020, according to Mike Vokey, executive director of New Brunswick Fairs and Exhibition Association.
“We want to support them to make sure that they can get through this very trying time for all businesses, and come out on the other side so they are healthy enough to be our midway partner for future years,” said Vokey.
Some people have expressed concerns that the midway is going ahead amid the pandemic and are worried about the spread of COVID-19, said Vokey.
“It’s up to every family to decide whether they want their kids to go here, just like they decide if they want them to go to the park, or go to the mall. I would say you’ve got similar risks,” he said.
Regardless of who attends, the rides will be up and running for the next two weeks.
Smithers understands if people don’t feel comfortable coming.
“I also understand that some people are looking forward to some sort of entertainment as we are all staying home this summer,” he said.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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