Houston Rodeo Events Canceled Amid Coronavirus Concerns

March 11, 2020

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is canceling events amid growing concerns over the coronavirus.

The rodeo had been scheduled to run from March 3 to March 22, but is shutting down early. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Wednesday an emergency declaration for the city.

Governors and other leaders scrambling to slow the spread of the coronavirus stepped up bans on large public gatherings and a rapidly expanding list of universities moved classes online, as the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert Wednesday warned that the worst is yet to come.

With cases in the U.S. now topping 1,000 and the number of deaths climbing to 31, lawmakers and health officials set up containment zones and sought to limit contact with those who might be infected.

Until Tuesday, all of the Houston-area cases that had been confirmed were related to international travel, Turner said. All of them had been directly tied to an Egytian cruise line, Turner said. 

Then, a case confirmed in Montgomery County that was not tied to international travel. The virus had been passed on within our region.

"That changed things," Turner said. "As a result of that, we said we would monitor this situation carefully and make the necessary adjustments. ... 

"That means the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which we love and support, is impacted."

The mayor is signing an emergency health declaration, which will be in effect for seven days.

A ticket refund process is still in the works and will be communicated once it is finalized, the rodeo announced on Twitter.

"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. Out of precaution, the City has decided that this is the best course of action for our community.

"The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been a fabric of this community since 1932. Having to close early is extremely difficult as guests, volunteers, exhibitors, rodeo athletes and entertainers look forward to the 20 days of the Rodeo each year.

"We look forward to the 2021 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to continue to promote agriculture, education, entertainment and Western heritage. We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Updates will be posted at rodeohouston.com/2020."

The rodeo is one Houston's most popular events. 

Last year, there were more than 2.5 million people who attended the event.