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State Fair Of Texas 'Urging', But Not Mandating Fairgoers Be Vaccinated

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With 30 days until Opening Day at the State Fair of Texas, the Fair issued recommendations to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but no mandates except for wearing masks inside.

"Big Tex needs every fairgoer to do their part and most of all, be respectful of others and do the right thing," the State Fair said in a news release Wednesday, August 25. "The current health situation makes for a challenging backdrop for the 135-year State Fair of Texas tradition."

The State Fair is urging fairgoers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear a face covering at the fair.

"We ask that those who attend do so because they are willing to follow our health guidelines – not because it's mandated, but because it's the right thing to do," the Fair said in the news release.

The State Fair of Texas said it is counting on attendees to do their part to help keep the event safe by following the below health guidance, which is subject to change:

Get vaccinated. If you're fully vaccinated, thank you! If you're not, now is the time to be protected for when the Fair's Opening Day arrives. That's the best thing you can do for yourself and for everyone, especially children under age 12 and others who cannot currently get vaccinated. It's widely recognized that the vast majority of all current COVID-19 cases are among unvaccinated people. While we will not (and cannot legally) require you to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter the Fair, if you're not vaccinated and plan to attend, we urge you to do your research, talk to your doctor, and consider a vaccine, both for your safety and the safety of others. If you can't get one beforehand, our friends at Dallas County Health & Human Services are offering free vaccines at Big Tex Circle from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. all 24 days of the State Fair. Dallas County plans to administer the Pfizer vaccine for those who are receiving their first dose (Note: As of August 23, 2021, the FDA has granted formal approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine). Dallas County will also have the Moderna vaccine available for people who are receiving their second dose of that vaccine. Dallas County is planning to offer an incentive of $20 in State Fair food and ride coupons to those who are eligible and receive their vaccine while at the Fair.

Make an informed decision about attending the Fair. Before you visit, make sure you've considered your personal health situation and how you can best keep yourself and those close to you safe and healthy. The Texas Department of State Health Services has a comprehensive webpage on COVID-19 with the latest information on testing, vaccinations, symptoms, what to do if you feel ill, protecting yourself and others, and more. Click here for more information.

Wear a face covering. Masks protect everyone. Plan to bring a mask for yourself and everyone in your party with you to attend the 2021 State Fair of Texas. Wear a mask in the following settings if you are older than age 2 and medically able to wear one:

Indoors, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. As of August 25, given the current situation with increasing COVID cases in Dallas County and the current Dallas County order on the Required Use of a Face Mask in Certain Public Space, masks will be required when indoors. Wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of your vaccination status, can help protect you and everyone in close proximity to you.

Outdoors in crowded settings, especially if you are not vaccinated.

At some independent vendor booths who may require everyone in their booth to wear a mask.

We are largely an outdoor event with plenty of eating and drinking. Approximately 80% of the State Fair is held in outdoor settings. Mandating masks fairgrounds-wide would be extremely difficult for our organization to enforce, so we are urging you to pitch in and do your part by following the above guidelines. Particularly if you go inside, simply put a face covering on for the time you're shopping, attending a show, or visiting an exhibit.

Again, we ask that you bring your own mask with you to the Fair, but if you forget yours, we'll have a supply at our gates for you. Just ask the gate attendant when you enter or at an information booth on the fairgrounds.

Wear a face covering if you take DART to the Fair. Many guests arrive at the Fair via DART or other forms of mass transit. Federal regulations require all public transportation passengers to wear masks while they are waiting for and on a train (those under age 2 or who are medically not able to tolerate a mask are exempt). Rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft may have their own mask requirements.

Social distance. Please spread out when you can and wear a mask when you can't. The fairgrounds are huge, and most activities are outdoors where social distancing is much easier. We've created more space in some high-traffic areas and we are adding many more outdoor seating areas. If one area of the Fair is busy, explore new places. Wherever you go, there's plenty to eat, to do, and to see.

Consider attending on a weekday instead of a weekend. Weekdays traditionally are much less crowded than weekends and attending on a weekday provides you with many discount admission offers.

Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands frequently. More than 500 free hand sanitizer stations are made available by the State Fair throughout the fairgrounds. Plus, there are hand sanitizing stations throughout the barns and livestock areas, where it's especially important to wash your hands after visiting the animals.

Stay home if you're not feeling well or you've had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Get tested and get well before you visit the Fair. If within the 14 days before you attend the Fair you have tested positive or presumptively positive for COVID-19, experienced any related symptoms or been in direct contact with or in the immediate vicinity of any person who is confirmed or suspected of being infected with COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms, please stay home.

Most of all, please respect your fellow fairgoers. We're all in this together. And please remember that some operators may be short-staffed due to labor shortages. Please practice patience and be kind to those who showed up to work and serve you at the great State Fair of Texas.

The 2021 State Fair of Texas opens on Friday, September 24 and runs through Sunday, October 17.

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