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Many people aren’t wearing masks to one of South Dakota’s largest events

Although there are no hard restrictions, the Black Hills Stock Show does encourage masks, has hand sanitizing stations, and worked with Monument Health to provide some PPE. Most people however have decided not to mask up.
Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 5:27 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo was South Dakota’s last large event before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state in 2020.

The 2021 event has seen record-breaking crowds, with many people choosing not to wear a mask.

Although there are no hard restrictions, the Black Hills Stock Show does encourage masks, has hand sanitizing stations, and worked with Monument Health to provide some PPE. Most people however have decided not to mask up.

“There’s been both,” said Tony Chytka. “A lot of the elderly people are wearing masks which is good. And like I said, they’ve been keeping their distances, but you’ll see masks, you’ll see not masks. But if they don’t have them on, they’ve got them handy.”

As case numbers continue to decline and vaccines are making their way into people’s arms, masks might feel unnecessary, but some people still rely on them.

“The stock show is always a wonderful place to come and walk around and see friends and just visit with other people and with the COVID and everything this year it was especially important to us because we did want to get out and visit a little bit. We’re tired of being home all the time,” said Sena Zoller. ”We wanted to get out of the house, and we felt like as long as we wear our masks, we were safe. And we’ve had our COVID shots too.”

Another woman who’s gotten the COVID vaccine says she understands not wanting to wear a mask but still chose to with the number of people visiting the stock show.

“I kind of figured a lot of them wouldn’t wear their mask,” said Debbi Goodro. “Some people don’t like to wear them which I understand but like with me, I’m just more comfortable out in public.”

Monument Health is the only group at the stock show requiring masks in their space and a staff member said they’re hopeful there won’t be a spike in cases after the event.

“We’ve been optimistic because things have been on a downward trend,” said Cory Ferguson, a community relations specialist for Monument Health. “We certainly hope there’s not going to be any spike or another resurgence here. We can all hope for the best, the one good thing is we do have a lot of people going and getting their vaccinations. So that is going to help.”

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