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Illinois State Fair Announces Mask And Testing Requirements

Flickr/Randy VonLiski - Https://Creativecommons.Org/Licenses/By-Nc-Nd/2.0/

Visitors to the Illinois State Fair, which begins next week, will be required to follow certain mitigations amid rising cases and hospitalizations of COVID-19, driven by the more transmissible Delta variant.

Both the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Department of Agriculture today announced all fair attendees to the 10-day event, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks in public indoor settings and to concerts and races in the grandstand.

Those watching grandstand events from the standing room only area will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

Masks are recommended, but not mandated, for crowded outdoor settings like the Twilight Parade, which kicks off the fair on Aug. 12. All entrances to the fairgrounds will have masks available.

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello also says IDPH will also set up six vaccination sites at the fairgrounds to help advance the state’s vaccination rate.

“I personally believe it’s your civic duty to get vaccinated to protect others,” Costello said Friday at the fair’s preview day. “Not just to protect yourself, but to protect others.”

The Illinois State Fair and DuQuoin State Fair were canceled last year due to COVID-19.

But Fair manager Kevin Gordon says he’s glad to see the event go live again, even with added precautions.

“Not having a fair in ’20 was literally like a punch in the gut, especially coming off of the solid year we had in 2019, where we had set numerous records,” Gordon said.

One of those records set two years ago was $6.5 million in revenue from the event, which included a performance from rapper Snoop Dogg.

The fair this year boasts the usual favorites like the famous butter cow, but will also feature the beginnings of a not-yet-finished exhibit on Route 66.

The following are additional efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

* Carnival workers, vendors and concessionaires are required to wear masks and are responsible for assisting in the cleaning of adjacent sitting and picnic table areas. The carnival will use fogger machines with a 72-hour disinfectant on all rides.

* Fogger machines will be used to clean the grandstand, coliseum and multi-purpose Arena between each event.

* No tram service will be offered.

* Dedicated crews to clean high touch areas, including restrooms, barns and common eating areas.

* Hand-washing stations and mounted and portable hand sanitizers throughout the grounds.

Hannah covers state government and politics for Capitol News Illinois. She's been dedicated to the statehouse beat since interning at NPR Illinois in 2014, with subsequent stops at WILL-AM/FM, Law360, Capitol Fax and The Daily Line before returning to NPR Illinois in 2020 and moving to CNI in 2023.
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