The Coast News Group
Del Mar Fairgrounds
Due to the ban on mass gatherings, the Del Mar Fairgrounds has suffered severe financial losses. Courtesy photo
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Del Mar Fairgrounds announces staffing reductions

DEL MAR — In response to heavy financial losses as a result of COVID-19 and a statewide ban on mass gatherings,  the 22nd District Agricultural Association announced today it will reduce its current staffing by nearly 60%, according to a release.

The Del Mar Fairgrounds, which is managed by the DAA board, has suffered major blows to its primary income streams, including the postponement of the San Diego County Fair and no patrons for this year’s summer horse racing meet.

Since March, the fairgrounds’ revenues were down 66%, with some estimating losses reaching 92% by the end of the summer. Mass gatherings equate to 90% of the 22nd DAA’s revenue base.

“It is with a heavy heart that we must make the difficult decision to reduce staffing at this time,” said Tim Fennell, CEO and General Manager of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. “Until it is safe to host events again, reducing our staffing levels is crucial to the survival of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“We must preserve this community treasure in order to continue its legacy for future generations as an economic engine for the region and a beloved entertainment and education destination. I look forward to the day when we can operate at full strength again.”

According to the release, the 22nd DAA’s layoff announcement will comply with state regulations by giving employees 120-days of continued employment, with an official layoff date of October 15, 2020.

The 22nd DAA is one of 56 state-affiliated fairgrounds in California and all of its operations are entirely self-funded. The facility relies on event revenues to operate and does not receive any assistance from the state’s general fund.

For community members who want to help save the Del Mar Fairgrounds, please visit There, you can show your support and alert elected officials of the Fairgrounds’ immediate emergency funding needs.

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