Summerfest, Wisconsin State Fair organizers ‘closely monitoring’ developments tied to coronavirus

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MILWAUKEE -- Opening Day for the Milwaukee Brewers is still on, but extra precautions will be in place to keep people safe and healthy. Miller Park is just one baseball venue that will now be limiting access to locker rooms and clubhouses to hopefully stop the spread of germs.

Arguably one of the largest events canceled due to coronavirus is the 2020 South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. SXSW was slated to begin March 13 but has been canceled because officials in Austin declared a local emergency.

In Milwaukee, event spaces are taking precautions, too -- among them: Miller Park, Fiserv Forum, UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, The Pabst Theater Group, Wisconsin State Fair Park and Summerfest.



In southeast Wisconsin, Summerfest is one of the first major events being held on Milwaukee's lakefront. It is slated to begin on June 24. FOX6 News reached out to Milwaukee World Festival Inc. about how the music festival is approaching the health concerns related to coronavirus. Officials issued the following statement:

"The safety of our guests, employees, partners and artists is our highest priority.  As with all other scheduled large events and major league sports venues in Wisconsin – as well as other festivals worldwide – Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. is closely monitoring the situation surrounding COVID-19.  We will continue to work in tandem with public officials and health professionals."

Wisconsin State Fair

Wisconsin State FairKathleen O’Leary, CEO for the Wisconsin State Fair, issued the following statement as it relates to coronavirus:

"The safety and health of all visitors and employees at Wisconsin State Fair Park is our top priority. As an agency of the State of Wisconsin, we work closely with the Department of Administration on our COOP (Continuity of Operations Plan) and update it annually. It was updated in December of 2019, but we are currently taking a closer look to ensure it adequately addresses pandemic planning.

"As coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread internationally and here in the United States, we are actively following updates and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and have put several precautions in place:

  • Increased cleaning and sanitation measures throughout the Fair Park
  • Utilizing hospital grade cleaners and allowing them the proper dwell time to disinfect surfaces
  • Installation of additional hand sanitizer stations in the Exposition Center and Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center, along with additional signage reminding visitors to wash hands and use sanitizer
  • Sanitizing restrooms with the Kaivac no-touch cleaning system

"At this time, no events have been canceled, however, if the cancellation of a non-fair event does occur, communication and subsequent details will come from the event organizer. We will work closely with event organizers to support in any way possible. Our focus right now is on working with the various event promoters who rent our facilities as well as our staff. While the Wisconsin State Fair is nearly five months away, we will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 as we get closer to the Fair to determine if any action is needed."

Milwaukee theaters

Riverside Theater

The Pabst Theater Group announced on Tuesday, March 10 added health precautions at each of its four Milwaukee venues as concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus grow. At the Riverside Theater, Pabst Theater, Turner Hall Ballroom, and Back Room @ Colectivo, cleaning products approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are being used to wipe down surfaces. The venues have also added additional hand sanitizer stations, and bars are stocked with disinfectant wipes.


Wisconsin Center

Events are still going on as planned at the Wisconsin Center -- a place where thousands from all over file in and out each week.

"Certainly our clients and guests have been wanting to hear about what we're doing proactively to make sure our buildings are safe and clean," said Sarah Maio, vice president of marketing and communications for the Wisconsin Center.

"We are being really aggressive about the way we are cleaning our spaces, disinfecting before during and after every single public event and around the clock, all different shifts," Maio said.

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