The West Springfield Board of Health is set to hold a hearing on an indoor mask mandate this Wednesday. The proposed regulations would require face coverings in all indoor public places as well as private places open to the public for those over the age of 2.
The scheduled vote comes just two days before the Big E, West Springfield's annual fair, is slated to begin. Eugene Cassidy, president of the Big E, says the proposed mandate doesn't come as a surprise to them at all.
"I think it's something that is very well thought out," said Cassidy. "Hampden County is experiencing a problem with the delta variant."
Cassidy says the annual fair has already produced signs notifying visitors of the mask requirement in case it passes, and that staff will work to remind people of the rule. The multi-state fair drew more than 1.6 million visitors in 2019 and was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Hampden County over the previous two weeks was more than double that for the state as a whole.
In nearby Springfield, a mask mandate has been adopted for all indoor spaces in the city.
This story is a production of the New England News Collaborative and a version originally appeared on New England Public Media's website.