The fate of Plain City’s annual Rock the Clock event is up in the air following an initial denial of plans by Madison County Public Health.
Erin Fawley, Director of Community Health and Accreditation Madison County Public Health, said plans for the event, which were submitted this week, were not approved.
Gov. Mike DeWine’s orders restricting mass gatherings would not currently permit an event the size of Rock the Clock, Fawley said.
She said the health department will revisit plans if restrictions are loosened, but said “we don’t know” what the outcome will be since public health orders are mandated at the state level.
Rock the Clock organizer Tim Dawson said he was told by the health department officials that they do not foresee Gov. DeWine relaxing standards by July 1.
“It is so confusing – the Governor’s orders,” Dawson said.
He said he submitted plans for review by Madison County Public Health that included guidelines for social distancing and providing hand sanitizer throughout the venue.
Even so, Dawson said health department officials said “no way” to an event that generally draws around 3,000 people.
He said it feels as though standards are “wishy washy” given large entertainment venues like Cedar Point, King’s Island and the Columbus Zoo are permitted to open under state public health orders.
Dawson said he feels like “there are no clear answers” as to what is permitted on a local level.
He said he isn’t sure how bars in Columbus are advising customers to stay in their seats while drinking, but Uptown Marysville is permitting weekly MORAs that allow people to walk through the area with alcoholic drinks.
Dawson said he hopes regulations become more clear as time goes on, but won’t be able to host Rock the Clock as originally planned for on July 25.
“It would be a miracle to pull off such a huge event in such a short amount of time,” he said.
Additionally, he said “there could’ve been backlash” if he hosted the event in July, prior to getting the go-ahead from Madison County Public Health.
Dawson said the Madison County Health Commissioner told him Rock the Clock could be held “possibly (in) September, but (he) wouldn’t necessarily even count on that.”
He said he tentatively rescheduled the event for September 5, but said there are many factors it is depending on that have yet to be decided.
“I didn’t get the impression (from the health department) that it was not possible to have it in September,” he said.
In the meantime, Dawson said he is still gathering lists of volunteers for the September event. The musical act, Naked Karate Girls, is also tentatively booked for that date.
He said he is also considering asking to have the event in Pastime Park and working instead with the Union County Health Department to implement safety standards that meet public health orders.
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