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Houston Mayor Announces Rodeo Closing Amid Coronavirus Concerns


March 11, 2020

By Jennifer Miko

Due to concerns of the continued spread of the coronavirus, Houston officials have announced the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo will close today at 4 p.m., after only eight days. The event was scheduled to run until March 22.

In a press conference this afternoon, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed rumors that the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, in addition to this weekend’s Tour de Houston, and other events in the city of Houston, will be cancelled through the remainder of the month.

“After conferring and talking with stakeholders, we are all in agreement that this decision has been made in the best interest of the health and safety of people within our region,” says Turner. “As of today, tonight, the concerts will come to an end.”

Houston Mayor to Sign Emergency Declaration

Based on yesterday’s case of the coronavirus identified in Montgomery County, there is evidence of community spread. As a result, Mayor Turner said he will be signing an emergency health declaration for Harris County by the end of the day, to be in effect for one week.

Medical Officer Defends Decision

City of Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse said the number one priority is to protect the people in the community.

“It’s not if and when, it’s now,” Dr. Persse said of the virus affecting the Houston area.

He reiterated that the case in Montgomery county has definitely impacted decisions that have been made here. Officials said that patient likely had interactions with people in Harris County.

“We don’t know how wide it’s going to spread, and the spread is growing very rapidly,” says Dr. Persse. “We’re seeing about a 2% death rate over this. We’re doing this in order to save lives.”

Chance for Wider Spread of Virus

Earlier today, the World Health Organization classified the coronavirus as a pandemic. Locally, Harris County Judge Lina Hildago said officials are working with hospitals and schools to identify weaknesses and help prepare for whatever may occur with the virus. She noted that due to the size of this area, and the inability to close down the borders to the region, counties, etc. the spread of this virus is more possible.

During today’s press conference, officials confirmed that one coronavirus patient attended the BBQ Cookoff event on February 28. Judge Hildago said their team is investigating with whom he came in contact while there.

“The health and safety of the people in our region is paramount and it is important for people to know that based upon the facts presented, we will make the necessary decisions to keep everyone safe,” says Mayor Turner.

Scholarships from Rodeo Will Still be Distributed

Officials for Rodeo also announced that the organization will be able to fulfill their scholarship contributions and commitments to the youth associated with Rodeo events.

In a statement released today, Rodeo organizers shared this message:

Rodeo officials are implementing procedures to wrap up the event, and have posted refund information on their website for rodeo/concert tickets and carnival.


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