ALGONA, Iowa — For years Algona has hosted the ABATE of Iowa Freedom Rally on a farm just northeast of town. The event typically draws 8,000 to 9,000 people and is a big economic shot in the arm for this region of northern Iowa.
This year the event is raising some concern locally. Leaders are also concerned about the Kossuth County Fair, which will also take place this year.
“With these large events that pull in a large crowd, it not only has us as the front line workers concerned, but our citizens are starting to really voice concern as well,” said Kossuth County Emergency Manager David Penton. “Particularly about the rally that’ll be next week, that’ll bring in anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 visitors to Kossuth County.”
Penton has been in contact with ABATE leaders over these concerns, and the organization is working to establish COVID-19 protocols to keep people safe.
“We’re going to sanitize certain areas using special sanitizers to comply with the CDC,” said Dave Duffy, state coordinator for ABATE of Iowa. “We have a guy coming from Minnesota that’s a certified CDC cleaner. He’s going to be doing our shower houses to make sure our shower houses are clean with a special chemical that the CDC recommends.”
In Kossuth County, residents have experienced very low numbers of positive COVID-19 cases. There have only been 32 positive cases. One person is in the hospital, and there have been no deaths.
“We know these people are coming to town and want to have a good time,” said Penton. “We know they will need their food and beverages that they would need to come to town for. They’ll be potentially exposing our residents and employees that are front line. So we’ve been trying to work diligently communicating with the ABATE of Iowa folks that they’re doing everything they can at the rally grounds.”
“This will probably be a record year for us. With everything else being canceled, we’ll have a lot of people that are going to come to our event that have probably never been to our event before,” said Duffy. “We’re trying to take all the precautions, extra hand sanitizing, social distancing, if you can go into town once instead of multiple trips, abide by rules of local establishments.”
Masks will be optional at the ABATE Freedom Rally.
For more information on ABATE of Iowa Freedom Rally, click here.