How To Stay Safe Amid Big Crowds At The Texas State Fair
The fair is back, but COVID-19 hasn't gone away.
The State Fair of Texas runs Friday, September 24 to Sunday, October 17. Millions are likely to attend over those two dozen days (about 2.5 million attended in 2019).
Last year’s event was cancelled over concerns the massive crowds would encourage the spread of COVID-19.
The virus, with its more contagious delta variant, is still very present this year in Texas. On Thursday the state said there were 463 newly reported deaths from COVID-19.
Here’s what the fair is doing to reduce transmission and how you can enjoy its offerings while staying relatively protected from infection.
1. Get Vaccinated.
State statistics say about half of the Texas population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The shot reduces transmission and the likelihood of serious symptoms.
Dallas County Health and Human Services will provide free vaccines at Big Tex Circle from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of the fair. The department said 500 doses will be available daily.
2. Wear A Mask Indoors.
Masks will be required for all fairgoers in indoor spaces. Dallas County already requires a mask in many indoor public spaces, although the state is suing over that rule. Karissa Condoianis, Senior VP of Public Relations for the State Fair of Texas, said they’re following the county.
“You will be asked when you arrive if you have your mask,” she said. “And if for some reason you forgot it at home, or if something happens to your mask when you’re on the ground, we will have a supply.”
Condoianis admits strict enforcement of masking will be difficult, and fair staff will not get into a back-and-forth with fairgoers who flout the rule.
“We will not put our staff in harm’s way to enforce that at the time,” she said.
3. Wear A Mask Outdoors When In Close Contact.
Even though much of the fair will be outside, social distancing isn’t always possible in large crowds. The fair recommends wearing a mask in tight outdoor spaces.
In fact, public health professor Erin Carlson at UT-Arlington said a fairgoer might want to bring extra masks.
“When you’re outside, and you get sweaty, that mask will get damp [and] it won’t be as effective,” she said. “I definitely encourage people to bring several disposable masks with them so they can change them out through the day.”
4. Be Strategic.
Maybe attend the fair on a day with the smallest crowds, typically weekdays.
“Historically, weekends are more crowded than weekdays,” Condoianis said. “Our new admission pricing strategy encourages attendance on weekdays to help spread out the crowd.”
Adult admission Monday through Thursday is $15, compared with $25 on Saturdays and Sundays. The fair offers different discounts for a variety of days and attendees.
And if you’re feeling sick or have been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19, stay home.
5. Use Hand Sanitizer.
The fair will have more than 500 hand sanitizing stations, including in the areas where people visit animals.
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