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DIGGING DEEPER: How safe will the Fall Gem Show when it starts this week

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TUCSON (KVOA) - The Fall Gem Show is taking place this week at the Tucson Expo Center and the Holidome.

Many are asking how safe will it be?

According to Visit Tucson, they have been working closely with the show promoters to ensure everyone's safety.

For starters, temperatures will be taken before they enter the event areas. In addition, there will be hand sanitizers everywhere and, spacing protocols, social distancing and masks will be required.

"If you feel comfortable shopping at the mall or Target, those same standards are happening at these gem shows," Dan Gibson with Visit Tucson said.

Just three miles away at the Holidome Show, crews are cleaning up the area.

There will be four shows this year, down by half from what there normally is.

Also, these shows are more regional and national.

"National vendors and regional vendors do have gems from around the world," Gibson said. "So you're still able to shop the entire globe of gems and minerals  in your own backyard."

That is what Kelly Coleman, who is the visual display and buyer for Mayfield Florist, has been waiting for.

She said she has been attending both shows for 15 years.

"It's a big part of my push to get well-priced merchandise," she said. "I don't have to pay shipping and I can go pick it out.  I have vendors that I work with exclusively that give me great deals."

Deals she said she passes onto to her customers. She said her inventory also includes pieces from all over the world.

"I'm happy to go down and shop and the opportunity to buy some new jewelry and get some neat stuff in here for people to come in and shop," she said.

Despite her excitement, she said she is aware there is a risk. She said she will take all the precautions she normally takes when she leaves her house including wearing a mask.

"I think it's important for Tucson that we support this show and that we keep the show here for everybody that relies on this money coming into our economy, including us," she said.

Visit Tucson said the Gem Shows are responsible for bringing in more than $120 million in direct spending to this area.

This week's shows will be way smaller compared to years past. However, at this time, Visit Tucson said it will definitely help.  

"When you think of the gem show, you're thinking millions of dollars," Gibson said. "We're not there for these shows, but it is going to be more sales tax dollars and it will bring in more people from around the region to spend some money in our town."

The JOGS show runs from Sept. 3 and ends Sept. 6. Gibson said so far, the Spring show is a go.  They have 27 shows committed, so far.

Last year, they had 40.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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