Rep. Josh Harder’s effort to secure a $5 billion grant program to offset losses suffered by fairgrounds during the coronavirus pandemic now has a Senate measure to match it.

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., recently introduced a companion bill in the Senate to Harder’s Protecting Fairs During Coronavirus Act. The legislation would create a grant program available to fairs that missed out on the revenue from their typical events for both the 2020 and 2021 schedules. States would be able to apply for the aid through the Department of Agriculture.

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Harder, D-Calif., thanked Jones in a statement and said “we will continue pushing to get our fairs the relief they need to weather this storm — we don’t want to lose a single acre of fairgrounds or see any fairs close permanently because of the pandemic.”

For his part, Jones said he wanted to make sure the facilities were able to continue serving communities.

“State and county fairs are not just an important part of our social fabric, they’re also a key part of the agriculture business,” he said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of these fairs to be canceled, leaving farmers without an important market and the fairs at risk of permanent closure.”

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