AUSTIN, Texas — For the first time in its 82-year history, Austin and county leaders canceled Rodeo Austin due to concerns of the coronavirus.
During a special meeting held in the Travis County Commissioner's Court on Thursday, county officials considered putting in place additional safety measures at Rodeo Austin and Luck Reunion or canceling them altogether.
This comes after the court declared a precautionary local state of disaster on Tuesday, but did not cancel either event.
Travis County Commissioners Court extends local disaster declaration; Rodeo Austin is still on, for now
Sarah Eckhardt, former Travis County judge, said these decisions are made to preserve public health and safety.
"We are trying to both manage the health emergency, as well as the economic emergency that is resulting from justifiable health concerns," Eckhardt said during Tuesday's meeting.
Every year, the two-week-long event attracts more than 200,000 people and raises more than $2 million for kids in Texas.
Eckhardt said Rodeo Austin does not have the same risk factors as larger events such as South By Southwest and Formula 1.
However, on Wednesday, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo canceled for the remainder of their season due to coronavirus concerns.
Luck Reunion also announced its cancellation on Thursday. All tickets purchased this year will be honored for next year's festival.
Rodeo Austin is still working out how it plans to handle refunds.
Rodeo Austin's full statement can be read below:
"Public health and safety remain Rodeo Austin’s top priority. At the direction of City of Austin and Travis County officials, Rodeo Austin is heartbroken that 2020 events have been canceled. Rodeo Austin will respectfully comply with the public officials’ orders in an effort to keep the safety and well-being of our community at the forefront.
Canceling our event is extremely difficult for fans, volunteers, exhibitors, rodeo athletes, donors, contractors and everyone involved. Since 1938, Rodeo Austin has been a mission with a rodeo that has brought heritage and entertainment to our community while raising millions for Texas kids.
Rodeo Austin thanks you in advance for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the Fair & Rodeo in 2021. We will continue to serve our mission of growing the next generation … it’s in our roots."
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