Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker says that decisions on whether to move forward with the annual Illinois State Fair will need to be made “relatively soon” as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Pritzker was asked about the State Fair, which is set to take place in Springfield Aug. 13-23 and in Du Quoin from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, during his Tuesday press briefing about the state’s ongoing response to the coronavirus.
“We’re going to have to make decisions relatively soon because contracts have to be signed,” the governor said. “I think that was really the point I was making a few days ago when I talked about summer festivals. A lot of planning goes into these things and decisions have to be made.”
The comments come after Pritzker suggested that organizers for summer events should “think seriously about canceling” those events.
“Until we develop a vaccine, which is months and months away, I would not risk having large groups of people getting together anywhere,” the governor said during a press availability. “That’s a hard thing for everybody to hear, but that’s just a fact.”
The following day, the governor clarified his remarks, saying that those organizers should follow the advice of scientists and other experts.
“I was merely suggesting that people contemplate ‘what if’ because we need to follow what the science and the doctors tell us,” he said.
While the governor isn’t willing to give definitive word one way or the other about the status of the state fairs, he did say that he will allow his thinking on the matter to be dictated by what experts have to say about the safety of holding a large event later this year.
“I have as much fun as anybody does at the state fairs, and I’m hopeful that we could have both our state fairs in Du Quoin and Springfield, but I am just going to listen to the experts and make sure that we do the right thing too so that we don’t spread COVID-19 and that we don’t have a spike in hospitalizations and ultimately have more people passing away,” he said.