MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New data from the Minnesota Department of Health has some asking more questions about the upcoming Minnesota State Fair.

New data shows that in recent weeks there have been seven COVID-19 outbreaks at Minnesota festivals or fairs. Because of that, this year the state fair is a very polarizing subject.

Pia Sektann lives near the fair and typically bikes but this year. “Ugh, not going,” she said. “Our 15-year-old kid and his friends, they want to go and the rest of us, we are not going.”

The St. Paul resident says her house is divided and her mind is made up, “It’s too many people too close together.  There will be a time when we will go again but this year it’s not yet for us,” she said.

LaSonda Moore is on the same page, much to the dismay of her granddaughter who says to WCCO, “Yes we like the fair but Grandma says no no no.”

Moore says that with COVID-19, she’s not going to go. “It’s always a lot of people.  We know the fair wasn’t open last year and a lot of people are going to want to go this year so we are going to opt out and not go.”

Her friend Melissa Yaritz of Minnetonka is all in. “As long as you take proper precautions I’m pretty sure it’s ok. I don’t think this should strain anybody’s activities just because there’s a virus,” she said.

But the question remains of what the State Fair is doing for COVID-19 precautions. So far, it’s still a fluid situation.

As of now  – there are no crowd limits. Masks aren’t required but are encouraged, same for vaccines. And sanitizer will be flowing.  A fair organizer told WCCO-TV that all options are on the table regarding COVID-19 safety protocols, although no final decisions have been made.

Gov. Tim Walz says he’s encouraged by the recent uptick in vaccinations. He says the vaccine is the way out of this.

As far as the fair, he expressed a belief that if Minnesotans don’t feel safe, they won’t go.

“I think for many people – and this is what I’ve said through the whole pandemic – whether you had mitigations on restaurants or not, we had no one going in November. We had no vaccine, people knew they were going to get sick, and I’m afraid the same issue is if people don’t feel that there’s going to be mitigation efforts put in place at the state fair that’s going to pull back down some of the attendance.”

Walz says the Mayo Clinic model they have been using shows the Delta variant peaking later this month.

The Great Minnesota Get-Together is slated to start in 16 days, running from Aug. 26 through Labor Day.

If you already have tickets to the fair and don’t feel comfortable going, you can get a refund.  2020 – 2021 tickets will not roll over to 2022.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield