With the 2021 Great Minnesota Get-Together now just a week from kicking off, organizers for the Minnesota State Fair have released their official health guidance in response to COVID-19.

Fair organizers shared at the beginning of August that "all options are being considered" in the face of increasing COVID-19 numbers as the Delta variant continues to spread across the state and country as a whole.

As the 2021 State Fair is set to open their gates to the public on August 26, organizers shared their official health guidance via an update that addresses what visitors need to know ahead of their visit to the event, which runs through September 6.

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In the update, organizers open by saying "the current health situation is not an ideal backdrop for the Great Minnesota Get-Together tradition", laying out the following information for those that plan to attend the fair:

Will the 2021 Minnesota State Fair have attendance limits?

One mitigation measure that was being considered by fair organizers was limiting attendance to allow for more space and less close person-to-person contact. Organizers will not impose any sort of attendance limits, but they do encourage visitors to consider visiting during off-peak times like weekdays.

Will vaccinations be required to attend the 2021 Minnesota State Fair?

Fair officials encourage everyone to get vaccinated, but will not make vaccination a requirement to attend this year's fair festivities.

Many concerts, festivals, and event venues across the country have made it a practice to either provide official proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test in order to attend events, however the State Fair says they will not require either to attend this year's fair.

In their statement, they do encourage everyone to get vaccinated " both for your safety and the safety of others", also reminding the public that they will be offering free vaccines at the fair for those that are not already vaccinated.

Will masks or face coverings be required at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair?

The CDC has been strongly urging the usage of masks for all people, vaccinated or not, in areas of "substantial" or "high" transmission. Almost all of Minnesota is in one of these two categories, including all of the Twin Cities metro area.

In response to those recommendations, the State Fair is strongly urging all in attendance over the age of 2 that are medically able to do so to wear masks in the following settings:

  • Indoors, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people
  • Outdoors in crowded settings, especially if you are not vaccinated
  • At some independent vendor booths where they require everyone in their booth to wear a mask

They do note that masks will be required, whether you're vaccinated or not, if you go in the Care & Assistance and First Aid buildings as well as the North End Event Center to donate blood or get a vaccine. They will also be required if you ride a trolley and you are not vaccinated.

They go on to explain that "mandating masks fairgrounds-wide would be extremely difficult for our organization to enforce, so we are urging you to pitch in and do what’s right."

They encourage fair visitors to bring their own masks, but do note that they will have some available at entry gates, information booths, and at the entrance of many buildings around the fairgrounds.

Will you need to mask up if you take a bus to the 2021 Minnesota State Fair?

If you use one of the bus or shuttle options to arrive to the fair, organizers note that federal regulations require all public transportation passengers to wear a mask while they are waiting for their ride and while aboard. They do note that those under the age of 2 and those medically unable to wear a mask are exempt from these requirements.

What else should you know?

Fair organizers encourage people to visit the fair during off-peak times, such as weekdays. They also share that they will have something called "Gopher Gauge" added to their website in the coming days that will allow you to see how busy the fair is based on guest experience data.

While the fair can be a busy place, they encourage social distancing as much as possible while at the fair. They also will have free hand sanitizer stations throughout the fairgrounds and encourage people to use them frequently.

They also encourage people to stay home if you are not feeling well and to consider getting tested after your visit, which is a consideration the Minnesota Department of Health recommends for anyone who has attended a large event to do 5 days after being in attendance.

Organizers do acknowledge that urging and not mandating most of these policies may make some people feel uncomfortable about attending. They share the following on that subject:

We understand that by urging rather than requiring people to follow current guidance, many of our usual fair fans will not be comfortable attending. We ask that those who attend do so because they are willing to follow our health guidance – not because it’s mandated, but because it’s the right thing to do.

They further state that no event can be completely risk-free, but they do call on everyone to do their part, saying they are "counting on you to do your part to help us present as safe an event as we can."

You can read the full statement from the Minnesota State Fair here. The 2021 Minnesota State Fair opens on Thursday, August 26 and runs through Labor Day - Monday, September 6.

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