Florence mayor on traveling carnival: “I wouldn’t go”

Florence mayor on traveling carnival: “I wouldn’t go”
A carnival set up in Florence has many wondering if it can operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic (Source: Bernie Delinski - Times Daily)

FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - The WAFF 48 newsroom has been taking calls for the past few days about a carnival that’s popped up on Cox Creek Parkway in Florence. Many of you are wondering why it’s being allowed to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. The short answer - they’re not breaking any of the state’s health guidelines.

Our news partners at the Times Daily spoke with the carnival operators and Florence’s mayor -Steve Holt about the topic.

Madison Kissel is the spokesperson for the carnival. It’s a family business, operating under a company called “Kissel Entertainment”. Kissel says the carnival has been on the sidelines for 5 months this year because of COVID. But, Kissel says the carnival is following all of the state guidelines and then some. “We have taken the governor’s guidelines and have amplified them,” Kissel said. “All team members go through best-health practices training with the main focus on COVID.”

Mayor Steve Holt is not convinced. “If it was me, I wouldn’t go and take my family,” the mayor said. Councilwoman Michelle Eubanks went a step further. “There is no reason to think an event like that, that puts people close together, would not infringe on health and safety,.” she said. “It seems like an incredibly bad idea to me.” Mayor Holt said the city had to permit the company’s request because it had no standing in which to reject the request. “We could have denied them a permit, and they could have sued us,” Holt said.

Mayor Holt says he’s had conversations with the city’s police chief about officers making sure social distancing and safety protocols are being met.

Kissel says workers are undergoing regular health checks, gloves and masks are required unless they interfere with ride safety. “We have ample signage when you walk in and throughout the midway promoting social distancing and reminding guests of guidelines,” Kissel said. “We have a verbal track also as guests enter reminding them of guidelines, and directional arrows on the ground to help with the flow of traffic.”

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