Big E officials answer mask mandate concerns | News
WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)– Many of our Western Mass News viewers have reached out to us concerned about indoor mask mandates being enforced at the fair.
Western Mass News is getting answers from Big E officials.
With hundreds of thousands of people at the Big E here in western Mass., we brought those concerns to the president and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition, Gene Cassidy.
He tells Western Mass News there have been some fairgoers not complying with the town of West Springfield’s indoor mask mandate, but overall he’s happy with the response to the COVID policies in place.
“People like to rebel so we’re vaccinated; we’re doing our part; it’s up to you to do your part,” Springfield resident Marcin Czech and Chicopee resident Lauren Demers said.
Czech and Demers say they’re just happy to be back at the Big E even if there are some people not masking up inside.
But others say they’re not that concerned with people electing to leave their masks at home.
“There’s a lot of food inside so a lot of people eating socializing, didn’t raise much concern, same as outside,” Czech and Demers said.
We took our viewers’ questions to Cassidy to see how his staff have been addressing the situation.
“If I had known you were going to ask me that question, I would’ve brought my sign with me,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy said buildings are staffed with people holding signs reminding guests they need to mask up.
“A lot of times people are outside they have their mask off and they go into a building and completely forget about it,” Cassidy explained.
He said some fairgoers just need a gentle nudge, especially with so many people coming from out of town. Overall, he’s happy about how people in attendance have responded.
“We don’t want to be confrontational with folks. People have been really good, but we have to be diligent,” Cassidy said.
And if you do forget your mask?
“You can get a mask here, if you need one, we have one, but just make sure you bring your mask,” Cassidy said.
For people we caught up with spending their Friday night at the Big E, having to mask up inside is well worth the price of admission.
“As long as we can get a good beer and a good corn dog or whatever it’s worth it,” Czech and Demers said.
Cassidy tells me traffic around the fairgrounds has been terrific thanks to the help of West Springfield Police, and a large turnout is a sigh of relief for his staff.
This weekend is expected to be the busiest weekend of the fair.