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Western Idaho Fair organizers discuss precautions in place amid COVID-19 case uptick

Event organizers have implemented social distancing and sanitizing stations throughout the fair, but made the decision to not require masks.

GARDEN CITY, Idaho — The Western Idaho Fair has returned to the Treasure Valley after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The fair and Expo Idaho has been down for a year-and-a-half and we tested the public on what they wanted to do and how interested they were if the fair was to close or be open," said Western Idaho Fair Director Bob Batista. "Snd we were overwhelmed with the amount of people who say, 'We want the fair to come back.'"

While the fair is back and seemingly normal, healthcare professionals and local leaders are concerned about the Delta variant. Case counts in Idaho continue to rise, and hospitalizations are currently at an all-time high.

Although the fair is an outdoor event, there are still some precautions being taken to help limit the spread of the virus.

"We followed the CDH guidelines and then we said, 'What are we going to do?'" Batista said. "We took into consideration that this is primarily an outdoor event so the air helps us with that. We have widened the aisle in the indoor space where we have the booths or exhibits that can do that."

Some attendees have made a point to mask up while attending the fair, but organizers did not believe a mask mandate was necessary.

"We are providing masks at every ticket booth. You can come in at our information booth, we have hand sanitizer, we distribute hand sanitizer at every food booth or commercial booth and we are just trying to do everything we can to make sure this is safe for people to come out and do," Batista said. "It's a personal choice and at the same time you can come out and enjoy the fair with or without a mask, it's up to you." 

Saint Alphonsus is offering vaccinations to people at the fair four days this week.

While masks are optional at the fair, health experts strongly recommend them to be worn in large gatherings regardless of vaccination status.

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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