Mask requirements back in place at NASCAR events

Sports

TALLADEGA, AL – MAY 02: Josh Wise, driver of the #98 Dogecoin / Reddit.com Ford, on track during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

WATKINS GLEN, N,Y. (NewsNation Now) — You won’t see them in the pits or the cars, but NASCAR is reinstating mask requirements in enclosed areas starting with this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen. The recent surge in cases of COVID-19 driven by the delta variant and lagging vaccination rates in some areas is leading to the reinstatement of mask policies nationwide.

Personnel in trailers, restrooms, buildings, haulers, race control and suites will have to be masked regardless of vaccination status. The restrictions are expected to be in place for the remainder of the racing season, which runs through early November.

The stands at Watkins Glen will still be fully open for this weekend’s race, and likely packed, as New York state’s mask requirements and distance requirements for outdoor gatherings are still suspended. The weekend features a triple-header of races on the road course.

NASCAR officials are keeping a close eye on the situation and on mask requirements nationwide, although initial decisions to require face coverings in the stands and maintain social distancing were highly unpopular among the sport’s fanbase.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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