Onondaga County issues indoor mask mandate for NYS Fair

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s empty now, but on August 20th, the gates at the New York State Fair will open to guests. Safety is top of mind, so when you enter any building, you’ll need your mask. It’s an executive order from Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.

“If you’re going to the fair and you’re outdoors, you won’t need to wear a mask, but if you’re going indoors you will need to,” McMahon explained. “We worked with the state on this, it’s something they’re comfortable with.”

McMahon said he decided to do this as a precaution because of an increase in the delta variant, but he said data is starting to flatten out.

“But overall, when you’re bringing in over a million people together over a period of 18 days, there is risk,” McMahon said.

The mask requirement applies to all individuals, regardless of vaccine status.  

“The return of the New York State Fair is a welcomed sign of progress for our community, region and state. After 18 months, we have learned successful mitigation measures that have proven to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. First among them is the vaccine and I will continue to encourage folks every day to sign up for the vaccine. Another important tool are masks. We know that masks, especially for indoor settings, are scientifically proven to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 which is why I have signed this executive order. I want to thank the team at the Fair for their partnership in this effort to ensure that we can have a successful Fair while implementing important measures that keep our community safe.” 

Ryan McMahon, Onondaga County Executive

So how will the fair enforce this?

“We’ll have both signage, we’ll have masks available both at our guest relations and entrances of buildings,” said New York State Fair Director Troy Waffner. “We’ll probably close some entrances off this year and not make them accessible to limit the limit the ways people can enter and exit a building. It’s, you know, it’s really, it’s a it’s a manpower issue, it’s a logistical issue, it’s signage issue and we plan on implemented all of that.”

Waffner said he’s already heard from a number of people concerned about the fair.

“I take a lot of these phone calls. People say they don’t feel safe coming. The thing is, no matter what you do in life, if you don’t feel safe here, don’t come. That’s a mitigation factor you can take and do away with the anxiousness. We all love the fair, but maybe it if it’s making you anxious, this isn’t the year you come.”

Troy Waffner, New York State Fair Director

If you do, “Just come in, put your mask on, don’t be rude to people,” Waffner added.

According to the CDC, nearly 70% of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the vaccine and nearly 77% have completed the vaccine series. 

In a press conference Monday, McMahon told the media that at least 300k Onondaga County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

Over the weekend and through Monday, 208 people tested positive in Onondaga County for COVID-19. 

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