HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia is currently experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases, with more than 2,000 active cases and 100 of those being the Delta variant. More public events are now opening back up with more people hanging around one another, but the question is “what is the public’s comfort level now?”
Huntington’s West Virginia Hot Dog Festival is one of the biggest events of the year for Stewart’s Original Hot Dogs raising more than $250,000 for the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital.
The event was filled with family fun, live music, and, of course, hot dogs! After a year of dealing with the pandemic, crowds at festivals are finally starting to come back.
Founder of the festival and Stewart’s Original Hot Dogs owner John Mandt Jr. says they wanted everyone to have fun with little restrictions.
If people want to wear masks, then absolutely put it on and wear it, and if you don’t then we respect that too.John Mandt, Stewart’s Original Hot Dogs owner
In the large crowd outside Pullman Square, you could see many people decided to “ditch the mask”, even with the threat of the Delta variant. However, those who attended the festival say their comfort level was a bit higher after learning about the safety measures taken by the organizers.
They worked with us securing that we had the proper sanitation stuff and everything. The health department has been great today, just for coming out.April Browning, Carnivore BBQ owner
The CDC says even if you are fully vaccinated, you can still catch and spread the Delta variant. In the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the CDC, “469 COVID-19 cases were identified among Massachusetts residents who had traveled to a town during July 3-17th.”
74% of those cases were among people fully vaccinated and were associated with multiple summer events and large public gatherings.
While a statewide mask mandate has not been re-issued, if cases continue to increase, it could be on the horizon.