COVID-19 tests, masks required to see some of Illinois State Fair

COVID-19 tests, masks required to see some of Illinois State Fair

2021’s Illinois State Fair will require all visitors to wear masks indoors and prove vaccination or a negative test to enter certain venues.

People with their COVID-19 vaccinations will need to prove it to enter some venues at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Masks will also be required at most indoor venues, regardless of vaccination status.

Even some outdoor facilities will require masks, including the Grandstand where the big concerts are held. Those standing closer to the stage on the Grandstand track must mask as well as show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

The fair runs Aug. 12-22, celebrating the state’s agriculture with deep-fried foods, livestock competitions, the 100th anniversary of the butter cow, concerts, carnival rides and games. The Illinois Department of Public Health and the state Department of Agriculture said they were implementing the mitigation protocols because Sangamon County, where the fair is held in Springfield, is considered an area of high transmission, according to the CDC and IDPH’s guidelines.

Unvaccinated fairgoers are urged to wear masks even outdoors, but everyone is required to wear them at concerts, races, the Grandstand, the Coliseum and the stadium. Masks are urged for all at the Twilight Parade.

All carnival employees, vendors and concessionaires will be masked while working.

The Illinois State Fair won’t offer tram service this year. Extra sanitizing and hand washing stations will be available, and cleaning will be boosted in restrooms and of frequently touched surfaces.

The Illinois State Fair restrictions come shortly after Gov. J.B. Pritzker mandated both private and public schools require masks on students, staff and visitors when school resumes. Pritzker has given himself emergency powers 19 times to issue 85 executive orders. Pritzker most recentkly extended his  emergency powers through Aug. 21, which will mark 529 consecutive days of his rule by mandate.

The Illinois State Fair returns two years after a record-breaking state fair. The 2019 fair hosted over 509,000 visitors who spent $6.5 million, both records for attendance and revenue. In the fair’s 168-year history, it has only been canceled for the Civil War, for World War II and then in 2020 because of COVID-19.

This fair marks the 100th annivesary of a cow sculpted from butter, the Illinois State Fair announced on Facebook. “Sculptor Sarah Pratt has something special in store for this Illinois State Fair tradition as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the butter cow!”

But don’t expect to see visitors smiling at the buttery bovine. Masks will cover any reactions.

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