Expert shares ways for staying safe at The Big E amid COVID-19 | News
WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — The Big E opens Friday and is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to the fairgrounds over the next two weeks.
As COVID-19 cases continue to spread, how can you attend and also make sure your family stays safe?
In just a few hours, the fairgrounds will be flooded with people. Still, in the midst of COVID, a local expert tells Western Mass News one way to stay safe may depend on which rides you pick.
“I think a lot of the people who are coming are hopefully already vaccinated considering the vaccination rates in New England,” Western New England University Pharmacology, Immunology Infectious Disease Professor Clinton Mathias said.
The stage is set, and the countdown is drawing to a close. Opening day of the Big E is just hours away as hundreds of thousands of people set their sights on the fairgrounds for this year’s 17 day fair.
“I think everyone’s trying their best right now to at least strike the balance of taking some time out and spending time with their families but also trying to stay safe while the surge is going on,” Mathias said.
Viewers are reaching out to Western Mass News eager to get a taste of their favorite fair treats, but many families are also looking for ways to make sure their children stay safe.
Mathias said to be careful when it comes to rides and to choose ones that are socially distanced.
“Especially if you’re going to be screaming, there’s a higher chance of releasing those aerosols and droplets and things like that. So definitely as much as you can socially distance even on rides,” Mathias said.
Mathias said the normal handwashing and sanitizing COVID protocols should always be in place, but social distancing is also especially important when it comes to snacking.
“If you’re in a situation where you’re with a lot of people, it’s extremely crowded, and you have your masks off, you’re still pretty close to some of these people, and while you’re eating, you could be releasing droplets and aerosols,” Mathias explained.
Masks are required in indoor buildings. He said it’s important to pack multiple, in case they get wet or damaged.
“A wet mask probably will impair some of that filtration going on,” Mathias said.
While people should have fun and enjoy this year’s fair, he said to still be cautious and stay vigilant in helping to stop the spread.
“We’ve made so much progress, and we don’t want to take two steps back,” Mathias added.