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Health guidelines, name change help Shaker Woods survive

COLUMBIANA — Toeing the line between getting back to normal and staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult. However, various municipalities in the county have proven that events can take place if the proper measures are taken.

The county health department has worked with the owners and operators of Shaker Woods Village, previously the Shaker Woods Festival, by advising them on the most current guidance and orders given by the governor and director of health in order to hold a safe event.

According to Laura Fauss, public information officer with the county health department, the name change from Shaker Woods Festival to Shaker Woods Village is due to the cancellation of entertainment and implementation of guidelines. While festivals are not allowed, the health department has worked with the organizers to ensure that the outdoor event is as safe as possible.

While making adjustments to their events in order to operate within the recent guidelines, Shaker Woods Village has posted the entire safety protocol on its website. The event will require facemasks or coverings for all customers and employees, limit occupancy to 3,200 people including workers and retailers, provide temperature checks upon entrance and staff a 15-employee safety team to monitor and assure all employees and customers are following the guidelines.

Typically, the craft festival hosts more than 200 independent artists and thousands of visitors each weekend. However, by limiting the occupancy to 3,200 and requiring facemasks, the county health department believes there is enough space to perform proper social distancing. Maximum capacity for each booth will also be posted.

According to the Shaker Woods website, retailers are required to follow the RestartOhio retail guidelines for businesses, which recommend that all retail products be outside of booths and follow social distancing. All retailers will have hand sanitizer at their booths and will follow the guidelines as directed. Food concessions must comply with the standard RestartOhio COVID-19 rules for restaurants.

“Our department continues to encourage the success of our local businesses to operate in a way that reduces risk to the community by following all guidelines and recommendations provided by the state,” Fauss said.

By clearing two more areas for picnic tables that are six feet apart, Shaker Woods Village will have four picnic areas this year, supplied with a hand-washing sink and two hand sanitizer stations. Each area will be staffed to clean each table after every use.

Some artists who typically attend may be worried about not being invited back if they don’t participate this year. However, there will be no registry to sign up for next year’s show at the event.

While all of the rules and protocols are in place, the county health department emphasizes that it is still up to each individual to follow the rules in or for Shaker Woods Village to be a success.

“It is important to remember we all have a responsibility to adhere to guidelines that have been put in place to reduce the risk to the public and the spread of disease,” Fauss said.

Shaker Woods Village takes place from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Aug. 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23.

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