Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Tuesday the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo should proceed as planned, citing a decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
“It’s difficult to predict what things are going to look like in a month, but I’m very hopeful,” Hidalgo said. “I hesitate to say A-OK, because I know what our hospitals are facing.”
She did not rule out, however, shuttering the event for the third straight year if trends reverse.
Hidalgo returned the county to its highest virus threat level on Jan. 10, which urges the more than 1 million unvaccinated residents here to stay home and avoid unnecessary contact with others.
There is growing evidence that the omicron wave is waning in the Houston region. Virus hospitalizations have declined 8 percent since peaking on Jan. 18. Unlike previous surges, the Texas Medical Center has never exceeded its base ICU capacity while dealing with omicron.
Last year’s Rodeo was cancelled, and the 2020 Rodeo, which began just before COVID became a known threat here, ended early, though some argued at the time that decision took too long. Our current numbers are headed in the right direction and should be better in a couple more weeks. I doubt I’d be ready to attend actual Rodeo events or one of the concerts, as those are all indoors, but I expect that going to the fairgrounds for a day of outdoor activity ought to be fine. Especially, you know, if you’re vaxxed and boostered. Wearing a mask, at least when you’re in line and definitely when you’re getting food, would also be a good idea. Do what you think makes sense for your risk profile.