As Farm Progress Show returns to Decatur, city should model best COVID-19 health practices
Every other year, one of the world’s largest agribusiness trade shows takes place in Decatur, Illinois. The Farm Progress Show brings tens of thousands of visitors each day from all 50 states and nations across the globe. Not only will individuals be attending the show, but they will also be staying at our city’s hotels, dining indoors at our restaurants, and enjoying the amenities our great city has to offer.
While in our city, attendees of the show are likely to be implementing best practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and Decatur citizens should extend the same courtesy to our guests including being vaccinated, wearing face coverings while indoors, and practicing social distancing. Sadly, Decatur and Macon County have the lowest vaccination rate and highest death and case rate per capita from COVID-19 of any central Illinois county with a mid-sized city. Even more disturbing, COVID-19 metrics including case rate, test positivity, and emergency room visits are at levels not seen in months.
The Farm Progress Show is a critical economic driver for our city. However, given the city’s poor COVID-19 metrics, and the possibility that some in our city will not follow best health practices, it is possible that large gatherings could lead to high transmission of COVID-19 that in turn is spread to guests across the country. Thankfully, there is a way to protect the health of visitors to our city. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, get vaccinated. Decatur’s economic health is tied to the physical health of our citizens and our guests are unnecessarily vulnerable if best health practices are not followed.
Decatur is surrounded by the best farmland in the world, and every other year, Decatur shines as the host to the Farm Progress Show. This year during the greatest public health crisis of our lifetimes, the city of Decatur has the ability to shine in another way, by keeping our guests safe and engaging in practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19. I look forward to an outstanding and safe Farm Progress Show.