The 127 Yard Sale is billed as the world’s longest yard sale, spanning 690 miles going through six states including Kentucky.
The sale attracts people from all over the country and is happening this weekend, Aug. 6-9. Some have expressed concerns with that many people coming through town and bring COVID-19 with them. The Olde Bus Station decided to close for the weekend.
“I am just trying to look out for the safety of my employees and customers,” said Lora White, owner of the Olde Bus Station. “This is usually the busiest weekend of the year but the health and safety of our town comes first.”
In addition to the Olde Bus Station, Dairy Queen shut their dining room. Many residents are asking why the yard sale is allowed while personal gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed.
“The difference is the 127 Yard Sale is not an individual event, the conundrum is that there are thousands of vendors. We cannot talk with each individual vendor or just shut one place down,” said Cathy Akins, interim director for the Mercer County Health Department. “We get to talk specifically to food vendors, but we don’t have the opportunity to talk to the non-food vendors.”
Vendors are expected to provide hand sanitizer, help customers achieve six feet distancing and sanitize their booth often.
“We have just received the guidance about the 127 yard sale event. It is allowed because the yard sale booth owner is supposed to ensure customers follow the guidelines within the booth itself,” said Akins. “The responsibility falls on both the person with the yard sale booth, but also onto the customer. The yard sale attendee also needs to be responsible for wearing a mask, staying six feet away.”
Contact tracing is not happening at the booths so Akins stressed the importance of personal responsibility.
“I love to yard sale and I am going to make sure I have the power to protect myself,” said Akins. “Follow the guidelines, wear a mask, stay six feet way and if a booth is too full pass it for the next one.”
Akins said the social media and websites for the 127-yard sale state the full guidelines each booth is expected to follow.
“Mercer County Health Department could not shut it down and we are not even sure if it could come from the state. It crosses several state lines and jurisdictions are an incredible obstacle,” said Akins. “Therefore we are deferring to individual responsibility, the owner and the attendees must be responsible for their safety.”