Washington State Fair to require masks indoors and outdoors

PUYALLUP, Wash. — People heading to the Washington State Fair in Puyallup will have to wear a mask inside and outside.

Pierce County health officials made that announcement Tuesday, ahead of the fair’s opening on Friday, because hospitals are overrun in the latest COVID-19 surge.

Employees at the fair will be tested, and there will be fewer rides and vendors to allow more spacing.

People who repeatedly violate the mask policy will be asked to leave.

Fair officials acknowledge a lot of people won’t like the new rules.

“I wear a mask all day at work, so I really resent having to wear it in my time off when I’m out in the fresh air,” said Diana Carlson, as she visited the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe.

The Evergreen State Fair requires people to wear a mask indoors, but not outdoors.

The announcement by Pierce County officials comes a day after hospital leaders in Puyallup and statewide said they thought holding fairs at all during the delta variant-driven surge is a “bad idea.”

In addition to COVID cases, they are worried about handling patients coming from fairs with injuries or other medical problems.

In response to the new mask mandate at the fair, officials at MultiCare, the owners of Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup wrote to KIRO 7, “While precautions like masks are a step in the right direction, there is still significant risk in attending large events while the delta variant continues to surge in our communities.”

The MultiCare statement said, “the risk of increased transmission of the virus through an event like the fair would almost certainly result in more COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.”