HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County Fair is coming to the Myrtle Beach Speedway on July 4th week, despite the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control recently labeling the county as a coronavirus hot spot.
The Myrtle Beach Speedway manager tells News13 they’ve been in talks with officials to make sure Centers for Disease Control guidelines are followed.
“Obviously with all of this, it’s been a roller-coaster of what, when, where,” said Myrtle Beach Speedway manager Steve Zacharias.
Before Monday, Myrtle Beach Speedway owner Steve Zacharias didn’t think the Horry County Fair would be happening because of COVID-19.
The fair was originally supposed to happen in April of this year. It needed to be moved after raceways became part of Governor Henry McMaster’s executive order to close, and Strates Shows weren’t sure if they were going to be able to fit the Horry County Fair in their schedule.
But Monday night, Zacharias got a call that changed that.
“I was sitting in my garage at 6 o’clock and they called and said things changed, can you get there in time? I said I can try,” Zacharias said.
The Horry County Zoning Board of Appeals approved the fair to happen the week of July 4th.
“It went from not happening to happening three weeks away,” said Zacharias.
Councilman Johnny Vaught who says council approved the fair to happen months before coronavirus, says speedway officials and Strates Shows have been working with council to make sure they’re opening the fair safely, and to find a different date that works better for everyone.
Zacharias says officials with Strates Shows were adamant they didn’t want to open the fair unless CDC guidelines were adhered to and they were prepared for larger crowds.
“We’ll have plenty more hand-washing stations on property, we’re going to be spraying down stuff, John’s going to be doing his part with the rides. We’re going to have our security staff that’s walking around, if we see large groups of people, we’ll ask them nicely to separate,” said Zacharias.
Zacharias tells News13 they’ll not only add more hand-washing stations, but they’re recommending those attending the fair wear face masks.
He says that even though their space is smaller, they’re never at capacity.
“It’s not the largest for what we do, but it fits perfectly because they all just leave in groups. So, the group that showed up right when we open, they were all there together for two hours and then all of a sudden they left and a new group comes in, so we’re never at capacity during the fair,” he said.
SCDHEC declared Horry County a hot spot Monday, saying not enough people are social distancing, but Vaught says he asked Emergency Management Director Randy Webster why he thought DHEC would declare the county a hot spot.
“I said Randy, what does it mean to be designated a hot spot, because I’ve seen it happen before. And he said, Johnny, I honestly don’t have a definition for you. I can’t tell you why they actually declared it a hot spot,” said Vaught.
“We’re just going to do our part and do the best we can and keep everybody safe,” said Zacharias.
Zacharias also tells News13 they will not have their usual petting zoo out at the fair to allow for more space.