Every year thousands of people attend the Vesta Home in Shelby County.
The event kicks off this weekend but this year it will not be business as usual. Home show organizers say this year because of COVID -19 there are limits on how many people can attend each day along with enhanced health and safety measures. The event will be closed for deep cleaning on Mondays and there are special hours for the elderly and immunocompromised people.
Because of COVID-19, any group who wants to hold a large event has to get approval from the Shelby County Health Department to do so. Permission is granted on a case by case basis.
Final construction is running down to the wire at Spring Creek for this weekend's opening of the Vesta Home. The Shelby County Health Department says organizers submitted their request and proposal August asking permission to move forward with the event as long as health and safety requirements were followed.
Right now, events in Shelby County are being considered on a case by case basis.
"I do understand why some are going to be treated case by case because a horse show is going to be treated different than a vesta horse show because there are different considerations," said Amber Mills, Shelby County Commissioner.
Mills understands not all events can be treated equally but supports there being more transparency in the process. Right now, the Shelby County Health Department does not publicly list anywhere events they have signed off on or what the events requirements and restrictions are, or even if they had rejected an events application.
"You do need the information to make that informed personal decision," said Mills.
"If they are approved a plan one by one case by case basis then we have no way of knowing who they approved did not approve. We have no idea if they are using a different standard for different people," said Mick Wright, Shelby County Commissioner. Wright is concerned wants there to be more uniformity.
"I guess I would say that the public is definitely ready to have some very clear guidelines and I think we should have guidelines that are the same across the board so they would be easy to understand," said Wright.
"Everyone is having to go in one by one to get special permission and I think that is a problem that there is so much power concentrated in one department and very little transparency," said Wright.
We asked the Shelby County Health Department a list of questions including what is required to get an event approved and who makes the decision. We're still waiting for an answer.
One we do know; the home show runs most of October. It is one of a probably just a handful of events happening this fall.
"We need more of those things we've been cooped up too long we need more events where we can be outdoors and see other human beings," said Wright.
The Local I-Team asked the Shelby County for a list of events they have approved. We were told to had to file a records request. We did and we are waiting on that information.