GOODING, Idaho (KLIX)-Gooding County fair organizers have decided to postpone the rodeo and downsize the fair considerably out of concern of the possible impact of COVID-19 on the community.

The Gooding County Commissioners announced the rodeo will be postponed until a later date while the 4-H events will continue during fair week and will accommodate social distancing including the animal sale with similar guidelines. Officials said in a statement the decision was made after they discussed it with area health experts at North Canyon Medical Center. "This was not a knee-jerk decision," said Don Gill, Gooding County Fair Manager in a prepared statement. "I have been working with the County commissioners and North Canyon Medical Center for months as we monitored the COVID cases and discussed the risks a large event could have on our county. We are devastated to change our plans for the fair and rodeo, but we all agreed it was the right decision. In addition to COVID concerns, there is a huge financial impact that had to be taken into consideration."

Officials decided to cancel the carnival, food vendors, open fair class, and the Tough Enough to Wear Pink Luncheon. Leaders looked at what a wide-spread outbreak in the county would have on the community with the possible risk of businesses closing again, schools not being able to reopen, and the impact on area healthcare providers.

This was an extremely difficult decision and one we did not take lightly. Just two weeks ago there was a high level of confidence we could move forward with the full event, but the increase in COVID cases across Idaho the past two weeks changed that perception." said Mark Bolduc, Gooding County Commissioner in a statement. "While we did not want to change this event, we had to look at the long-term impacts a wide-spread outbreak could have on the residents and businesses of Gooding County.

The Market Animal Sale will be held Saturday, August 22, at 10 a.m. in the arena to allow for social distancing requirements.

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