New York State Fair canceled

Crowds pack the New York State Fair in 2019.

NEW YORK — The New York State Fair will not happen in 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today.

“That makes me personally very unhappy, but that is where we are,” Cuomo said during a press conference in New York City. “This is a really tough one.”

It has been over 70 years since the last time the fair was canceled. The event didn’t run from 1942 through 1948 because of World War II and its aftermath.

Cuomo has been saying for weeks that it would be difficult for the fair to run this year, given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But he didn’t call off the event completely until today.

He said in April the fair couldn’t proceed unless the entire state was fully reopened. In late June, Cuomo said the state was still looking at the issue, but acknowledged the event was unlikely to move forward.

Still, he said officials were talking about how the fair might run safely and was planning to wait to cancel until absolutely necessary.

Time ran out Monday, apparently.

Although the state began a phased reopening of its economy in May after months of business closures due to the pandemic, big events like the fair have yet to return. Numerous major summer events in Central New York like the Taste of Syracuse and Harborfest in Oswego were canceled early on.

The city of Syracuse recently canceled all outdoor festivals through November.

The fair has been regularly drawing over 1 million people in recent years. The state invested millions of dollars in an overhaul of the grounds, including a building new Expo Center, and added a day to the schedule in 2017.

Both those factors helped boost attendance.

The event set an all-time attendance record for the fourth year in a row in 2019 when over 1.3 million people passed through the gates.

The fair was set to run for 18 days for the first time in 2020, an addition of five days to the schedule.

NY PROGRESS CONTINUESProgress against the coronavirus continued in New York on Sunday with hospitalizations falling to their lowest level since March 18, Cuomo said.

Hospitalizations due to the virus in the state totaled 817 on Sunday, down 15 from the day before. The total is also down sharply from the peak of hospitalizations, which was more than 18,000 over multiple days in April.

Another nine people in the stated died due to the virus on Sunday, up one from the day before. New deaths peaked at 800 on April 14.

“It’s unimaginable at one time that we would be this low,” Cuomo said during a press conference in New York City. “Obviously, you don’t want to even see nine. But this is great, great news.”

The statewide death toll due to the virus is 24,913.

New York now has 397,649 confirmed cases of the virus, including 518 new cases on Sunday.

The state conducted another 54,328 tests for the virus on Sunday and .95% of them were positive. That’s largely consistent with recent days.

Cuomo said the metrics measuring the virus’ spread remain good in all parts of the state, even with the reopening well underway. The state began reopening its economy in May after months of virus-related shutdowns.

Businesses have been allowed to return in phases.

New York City began Phase 3 of the reopening today, although indoor dining was delayed.