By Terrance Turner
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been canceled over coronavirus concerns.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the move officially during a press conference this afternoon. He stated that “up until yesterday, all of the cases that have been confirmed in Fort Bend, Harris County, [the] City of Houston — all of those cases have been related to international travel. And all of them — with the exception of one that traveled to Italy and then came back — were directly tied to that Egyptian cruise line,” Turner said. (According to KPRC, a total of 14 cases of COVID-19 have been officially reported in the Houston area – two cases in Houston, five cases in Harris County, six cases of Fort Bend County and one case in Montgomery County.)
It was that last case that turned out to be a game-changer, Turner said. “And then, of course, on yesterday, we had the case that was confirmed in Montgomery County that was not tied to international travel, and it appears to be a situation that took place within our region, and when I say Montgomery County, I count that within our region. Fort Bend, Harris County, Houston. And that changed things. And as a result of that, we said that we would monitor the situation very, very, carefully and that we would make the necessary adjustments as we went along to make sure that we were doing everything that we needed to do to keep people safe, based upon the facts, the science, and the medical advice that we were being given.”
“And so yesterday changed things, because yesterday, with the case in Montgomery County, that was evidence of some community spread. And as a result, that takes us to: ‘What do we do next?’ I will tell you: by the end of today, I will be signing an emergency health declaration for the City of Houston.” That declaration will remain in place for seven days. At the end of seven days, the City Council will vote on whether to continue the declaration. But it will go into effect at the end of the day. So what does that mean?
Turner said that, after talking with stakeholders, “we are all in agreement that this decision is being made in the best interest of the health and safety of the people within our region. And so, as of today, starting tonight, the concerts will come to an end, as they will phase down. And it will also impact the remaining concerts and events at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.”
The grounds will officially close at 4 pm, according to Rodeo Houston.
A statement from Rodeo Houston officials reads, in part:
“In the interest of public health, the City of Houston and the Houston Health Department have ordered the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to close. The Rodeo will respectfully and dutifully comply with the city’s order. The Rodeo is deeply saddened. However, the safety and well-being of our guests and our community is our top priority.Statement by RODEO Houston officials
The Houston Rodeo began in 1932 and has an economic impact of over $227 million, according to its website. This is the first cancellation for the rodeo since 1937, according to KTRK. It was supposed to last until March 22. Rodeo season kicked off Tuesday, March 3 and was supposed to last through Sunday, March 22. KTRK has provided a list of the artists who were scheduled to perform:
Wednesday, March 11 – Country – Kane Brown
Thursday, March 12 – Country – Cody Johnson
Friday, March 13 – Hip Hop/Pop – Lizzo
Saturday, March 14 – Country – John Pardi
Sunday, March 15 – Country – Dierks Bentley
Monday, March 16 – Country – Keith Urban
Tuesday, March 17 – Pop – Gwen Stefani
Wednesday, March 18 – R&B/Pop – Khalid
Thursday, March 19 – Country – Chris Stapleton
Friday, March 20 – EDM – Marshmello
Saturday, March 21 – Country – Brad Paisley
Sunday, March 22 – Country – Luke Bryan
StubHub is offering a full refund for tickets purchased.