Prince William County residents raise carnival concerns

Northern Virginia lawmakers are defending approving permits for a carnival that is set to open tonight in one of the hardest hit areas for the coronavirus.

Prince William County say the carnival is allowed under Virginia’s phase three but Some neighbors don’t like it.

The pop up carnival is in the 22191 zip code and it has more than 2,100 confirmed coronavirus cases, one of the highest in the entire state.

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 But still, this pop-up carnival will go on.

The carnival was slated to open at 6 p.m., and remain open until 11 p.m.

We’re told off duty police will be on hand to ensure social distancing and compliance with the governor’s mask mandate.

READ MORE: Several businesses in Northern Virginia remain closed during phase 3

But that’s little concern to some residents.

“My main concern is how did this get approved, why is this here, we can’t go to school, we can’t go to work, we’re considering voting by mail. This isn’t essential, this is unnecessary, the fact that they would put the most effected populations’ life at risk and their health at risk is a blatant disregard for our health and our safety,” said Emily Escalante, a Woodbridge resident.

READ MORE: Prince William County outdoor pools to remain closed all summer

This is the scene from above with Sky Fox Drone.

Nearby residents say the carnival usually takes place in school parking lot but obviously the schools remain closed so here it is off Jefferson Davis Highway, one of the heavily traveled roadways in Prince William County.

The Northern Virginia resident who brought this to our attention says this area surrounding Jefferson Plaza is predominately Latino and again one of the most impacted areas with COVID-19, due in part  to language barriers regarding getting information about the dangers concerning the coronavirus.

Virginia is in phase three so technically the carnival is permitted to take place but the question is should it?
“We’re following executive orders. In the case of the carnival, the owner is working with us which we were very pleased. He’s actually lowered his participant level,” said Wade Hugh, Director of Development, Prince William County

The county says the same carnival took place in Manassas last month with no problems.

Four to six police were on site daily to enforce social distancing and masks.

The county also says they are unable to deny these permits since it falls within the scope of the Governor’s phase three mandate.
FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis spoke with the carnival owner John Stevenson who has agreed to cap the capacity at 250 people, far below the 1000 people allowed.

He also says he’s gone above and beyond the CDC guidelines with hand washing stations, six feet markers and each ride will be 50 percent capacity or less.  He also says employees are being tested weekly for coronavirus and all results have come back negative.