O.C. fairgrounds increases sanitation measures and other precautions in response to coronavirus

The OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, home of the summer Orange County Fair and other events year-round, says it is stepping up precautions in response to the coronavirus.
(File Photo)

The Orange County fairgrounds in Costa Mesa says it is stepping up precautions given the widening outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Though events are taking place as scheduled, the state-owned OC Fair & Event Center says in a post on its website that it is “enhancing onsite communication and preventative actions, placing an increased number of hand sanitizer stations throughout the property, increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched objects and providing ongoing training for staff and partners regarding best practices for providing a safe and healthy environment.”

Fairgrounds spokeswoman Terry Moore said existing staff would be able to handle those actions for now, though “that may need to change and we are planning for contingencies.”

The costs of the coronavirus-related measures are still being determined, she said.

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District plans to update the public at Wednesday’s board of trustees meeting on its planning and protocols related to the coronavirus.

The 150-acre Fair & Event Center hosts the annual summer fair as well as many other events year-round.

Everyone who works at or plans to visit the property at 88 Fair Drive is urged to:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Wash their hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover their coughs or sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

As coronavirus cases grow, the California Department of Public Health issued guidelines for how event organizers should handle mass gatherings.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in California stood at 114 on Monday and at more than 600 in the United States.

The Fair & Event Center noted that the Orange County Health Care Agency says the public is believed to be at low risk of the virus locally. The agency also has not recommended cancellation of business or social events.

Still, Orange County declared a health emergency Feb. 26 in response to the coronavirus to “ensure [that] all residents and visitors to Orange County as well as all of our resources can be prepared in the event of an outbreak.”

As of Friday, Orange County had three presumptive cases of COVID-19 — two men and one woman — and local test results had been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation, according to the Health Care Agency. A man confirmed to have had the virus earlier this year has recovered, county officials said.

The Fair & Event Center said it would post any coronavirus-related changes at and on its Twitter and Instagram channels.

Rob Vardon is the city editor of the Daily Pilot.

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4:37 PM, Mar. 10, 2020: This article was originally published at 2:16 p.m. March 9 and has been updated with additional information.