Some wary of no-mask-required policy at State Fair

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Everything is starting to come together at the State Fairgrounds.

The NC State Fair begins one week from Thursday and everyone is hoping for a massive rebound after last year's fair was wiped out by the pandemic.

Despite robust health and safety protocols, there is no mask requirement anywhere on the grounds even inside. You also don't need a negative COVID-19 test and vaccinations aren't required either.

The Public Affairs division said "We have been working with DHHS throughout the process so for any science questions, we'd defer to public health."

ABC11 emailed and called NCDHHS Thursday but didn't get a response.

In her latest COVID-19 briefing, State health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen insisted that everyone needed to wear a mask indoors including children in schools.

STATE FAIR: What to know before you go

There are also indoor mask mandates in Wake County and in the city of Raleigh.

When you dig into the mask mandate in Raleigh, it doesn't include buildings run by the state.

"We have been in this pandemic more than 17 months now," said Camille Kauer, a Wake County mom. "Our kids already know they have to wear a mask, so I don't want to go somewhere where adults aren't following the rules."

Kauer hasn't been to the fair and doesn't plan to take her 13-year-old this year.

Officials estimate a $9 million loss at the fairgrounds because of the pandemic.

"I call it country politics: there is a lot of country but it's in the city," said Mac McCorkle, professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. "You're not going to see a lot of politicians touching this issue. If it turns out to be a super spreader event, you may see that after the fact but I wouldn't expect North Carolina to be a leader one way or the other on this."

Doctors said indoors will mean more risk naturally but as the state fair suggests, come on a weekday or even before lunch to beat the crowds.
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