Nicole Smith, Kedraina Ware and Bronson Groves enjoy games at the 2018 Robertson County Fair. This year’s event has been canceled.

One of Robertson County’s favorite yearly traditions won’t be held amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Robertson County Fair Board announced Wednesday, July 22 that the 2020 fair has been canceled. It was slated for Sept. 8-12 in Springfield.

“We had great things planned for the 153rd Annual Robertson County Fair; however, due to COVID-19 and in the best interest of Robertson County residents, vendors, and all participants, the 153rd Annual Robertson County Fair has been canceled for 2020,” the statement read.  

“Currently it is impossible to follow the Governor's guidelines for large community events and still have the traditional County Fair everyone is accustomed to. Our grandstands normally seat around 4,000, but with social distancing guidelines we would be limited to around 1,000.”

The Fair Board also said that checking temperatures and asking health-related questions of every attendee would have been difficult for its small volunteer staff. Concession stands would have been subject to the same packaging and seating guidelines as restaurants, and attendees would have been required to wear face coverings.

The decision comes as the coronavirus continues to spread locally. Robertson County had 1,225 COVID-19 cases, 692 recoveries and 16 deaths as of Friday, July 24.  The county has averaged about 18 new cases each day in July and has a 14 percent positivity rate on all 8,756 tests performed since the pandemic began in March.

Virus hits four more nursing homes

COVID-19 has been a challenge for long-term care facilities. Springfield Heights (six deaths) and White House Health Care (two deaths) were the first pair of nursing homes in the county to deal with the virus, but now four others have joined them on the state’s weekly report.

NHC Healthcare Springfield, StoneRidge Heath Care, The Waters of Robertson and The Waters of Springfield all reported their first confirmed cases the week of July 13.

As of Friday, July 24, NHC had five positive residents and one positive staff member, StoneRidge had two positive residents, The Waters of Robertson had 12 positive residents and seven positive staff, and The Waters of Springfield had five positive residents, eight positive staff and one resident death. 

Robertson County nursing homes have accounted for 109 combined COVID-19 cases and nine deaths.

Unemployment rate remains stable

Robertson County’s unemployment rate hardly budged in June, falling from nine percent in May to 8.8 percent last month, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

However, both months were a dramatic improvement from April’s 13 percent rate caused in part by the stay-at-home order and shutdown of nonessential businesses.

“I am encouraged that we are holding stable and down significantly from the high we saw in April,” said Margot Fosnes of the Robertson County Economic Development Board. “We know that most of our manufacturers have returned to production and many are hiring so there are jobs available for those who have had to shift out of work that has been negatively impacted by the pandemic.”

Robertson fared slightly better in June than neighboring Montgomery (10 percent) and Sumner (9.3 percent) counties.  In total, 3,182 county residents in the labor force were unemployed last month.

Tennessee showed progress across the board as 74 of its 95 counties had lower jobless rates for the month. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 11 percent in May to 9.7 percent in June.

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