The Pennsylvania Department of Health filed a lawsuit against Carlisle Events on Wednesday, the opening day of Spring Carlisle automotive swap market, over concerns that the event is a “public health threat” that risks the spread of COVID-19. The lawsuit seeks an immediate injunction to require Carlisle Events to comply with the current 250-person limit for events as Pennsylvania begins its reopening.
In a statement, Carlisle Events say they intend to vigorously defend themselves against the lawsuit and that their 100-acre outdoor facility provides “ample space for vendors and patrons to interact in a responsible manner, consistent with the CDC’s social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines.”
WGAL.com reports the legal filing says that Carlisle Events contacted the state’s Department of Community & Economic Development on June 9th about a waiver to exceed the 250-person limit for the Spring Carlisle Show, and they were advised to follow all green phase guidance that includes complying with the 250-limit order
The Department of Health contends that they sent a letter to Carlisle Events on Tuesday, requesting a written response by 7pm the same day to confirm the event will comply with all orders. According to the lawsuit, no response from Carlisle Events was received.
Carlisle Events had previously postponed the Spring Carlise show, an event that typically draws 100,000 people to the Carlisle Fairgrounds, and the show’s indoor auction was canceled. Spring Carlisle runs through Saturday, June 20th.
An update to the legal situation was provided Wednesday evening by Fox43.com saying that a hearing from the Department of Health vs Carlisle Events is scheduled for Thursday at 11:00 am at the Commonwealth Court.
According to spokesman Michael Garland, the event is going on as scheduled. “There is no one location here at the fairgrounds where 250 people will be gathering at any one time during this event or any other event on our season schedule,” said Garland.
Some of the additional safety measures now in place for Spring Carlisle include:
- Aisle layout for food lines, tape on floor for distancing
- Additional office waiting area to ensure distancing
- Plexiglass windows at work station
- Signage in place with social distancing guidelines
- Bathroom attendants for restrooms
- Hand sanitizer stations placed throughout venue
- Supply PPE’s for staff
- Close up every other urinal
- Require guests to follow PPE mandates
- Bathrooms completely cleaned every night with 30 second kill spray
- Eliminate hand stamping
- Hand washing sinks outside
- Temperature check employees if required
“We have spaced the picnic tables out a little bit more,” says Garland. “We are offering enhanced sanitation measures.”
Carlisle Events Official Statement Regarding COVID-19 Lawsuit
“This morning (June 17, 2020), Carlisle Events received notice of a lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in the Commonwealth Court. The filing seeks to apply and enforce the Department’s 250-person COVID-19 limit to outdoor events, such as our Spring Carlisle event, which opened this morning. We have retained counsel and intend to vigorously defend this action.
“Similar to other large outdoor entertainment venues and amusement parks that have or are scheduled to open under the Green Phase in southcentral Pennsylvania, our approximately 100-acre event facility provides ample space for vendors and patrons to interact in a responsible manner, consistent with the CDC’s social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines.
“Carlisle Events has worked tirelessly to put on this event in a socially responsible manner and will continue to do so. We believe the Department of Health’s Order is invalid. Even if the Order is valid, the Department has erred in its application to outside events such as ours, or has acted arbitrarily in seeking to enforce the order against us, while permitting other entertainment venues to open.
“We very much appreciate the business and support of our patrons and vendors during this time, and we hope that we will be able to continue to provide quality entertainment events that have become such an important part of our local and regional economy for the next forty-five years and more.”
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