'Protective of myself and my family': Families mask up at the York State Fair

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Amanda and Mitch Nace of East Berlin, peruse a grain silo display with their daughter Izzy, 4, at the York State Fair Monday, July 26, 2021. The fair's opening weekend was well-attended, according to a fair spokesperson. Bill Kalina photo

Amanda, Mitch and 4-year-old Izzy Nace toured Horticulture Hall fully masked.

The couple are fully vaccinated. Their daughter Izzy, like all children under the age of 12, is not. 

“I think it’s a good role that I play, making sure that I’m showing (Izzy) how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Amanda Nace said. “I also think it’s important because of the delta variant and making sure I’m being protective of myself and my family.”

Mask wearing during the 2021 York State Fair is optional, operating in accordance with current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state, according to fair spokesperson Montgomery Stambaugh.

Additionally, vaccine cards will not be checked. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the York State Fair installed air purification filters and hand sanitizing stations in all of its indoor buildings, Stambaugh added.

All of this is happening, of course, as York County saw a doubling of COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks.

Rebecca Haldeman of Lancaster visited the York State Fair with her son Jacob, 6, Monday, July 26, 2021. Bill Kalina photo

At noon Monday, few fair attendees chose to wear masks.

That didn’t prevent some guests, like the Nace family, from doing what they needed to do to feel comfortable.

Amanda Nace said that although she wasn’t too familiar with the York State Fair COVID-19 policies, she and her family felt comfortable exploring the fair during a time when it was less crowded.

“I see that masks aren’t mandated, but I think at this point with where the state is, I think (the fair) is following suit,” Nace said. “I do mask, and if I was outside I may or may not wear the mask depending on how many people I’m around.”

Lancaster resident Rebecca Haldeman shared similar feelings, adding that while she was not wearing a mask, she decided to come on a less busy day with her 6-year-old son, Jacob.

Jacob Haldeman, 6, of Lancaster, milks a mechanical cow at Memorial Hall during the York State Fair Monday, July 26, 2021. The fair's opening weekend was well-attended, according to a fair spokesperson. Bill Kalina photo

“It’s actually why we chose to come early, to avoid some of the crowds,” Haldeman said. “Definitely trying to stay away from a big group of people altogether — that’s why we came Monday instead of the weekend.”

In an effort to spread information about COVID-19, the state Department of Health invited all upcoming county fairs — including York's — to join the PA Unites Against COVID public health campaign.

With the partnership, fair officials could choose to have literature displays or on-site vaccine clinics, according to a copy of the newsletter that was shared to all Pennsylvania county fair organizers.

“York Fair was among all the county fair outreach,” said deputy press secretary Maggi Barton. “We did not hear back from York County.”

More:York State Fair makes changes following long opening weekend lines

Additionally, neither WellSpan nor UPMC set up tables at the York State Fair, according to spokespeople for each health organization.

“It’s not something we’ve typically set up a table at or had a booth over recent years,” said WellSpan spokesperson Ryan Coyle. “Our COVID-19 work does continue across the area with the mobile vaccination units, as well as now transitioning vaccines from community vaccination sites to local WellSpan physician offices.”

This year, UPMC was a sponsor for one of the York State Fair’s ticketing promotion days — Heroes Appreciation Day on Sunday, according to spokesperson Kelly McCall.

The state Department of Health did not respond to inquiries seeking comment regarding how the delta variant of COVID-19 could affect public gatherings such as the York State Fair.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.