According to a new Pierce County health order, people visiting the Washington State Fair will need to mask up both indoors and outdoors, regardless of their vaccination status.
Tacoma-Pierce County health director Anthony L-T Chen on Wednesday announced the new order that will take effect Friday.
The state fair, formerly called the Puyallup Fair, is scheduled to run Sept. 3-26. Anyone over age 5 will be required to wear a mask in both indoor and outdoor public spaces, unless they are drinking or eating.
Other exceptions to the new order include instances during which a person’s identity needs confirmation and when someone is communicating with people who are hard of hearing or deaf. Individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing masks are also exempt.
The order follows a 964% increase in reported cases over the past seven weeks. Forty-eight percent of Pierce County residents have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to Wednesday’s order, though children under 12 remain ineligible for the vaccine. The county health department reports that roughly 300,000 residents over the age of 12 are unvaccinated.
State fair organizers are adopting additional methods intended to mitigate potential spread of the virus, including limiting ride capacity to 90%, reducing vendors on-site by 25%, adding dividers between vendors and providing sanitizing stations. Additionally, COVID-19 testing and vaccination will be available to the public, and employees will be tested before and during the fair, according to a news release.
Staff will not be asking fairgoers for proof of vaccination, per the news release.
The health order will be in effect through Sept. 26, unless the county health department finds that coronavirus transmission rates decline to low levels as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.