A county’s reopening has been delayed after nearly 2,000 people gathered for a rodeo in Cottonwood, California, on Sunday.
Monday, Shasta County officials said they had to push back some of their plans to reopen once Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) heard that the event took place despite his stay-at-home orders, according to the Record Searchlight.
“The rodeo came to the governor’s attention and it has delayed full implementation of opening businesses back up here,” said Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) spokesperson Kerri Schuette.
Last week, HHSA officials reached out to the rodeo’s organizer but he refused to cancel the event, according to a press release the agency shared on Twitter:
Press release: A rodeo in Cottonwood on Sunday violated the governor's stay-at-home order and has delayed the county's ability to re-open retail businesses, restaurants and more during Stage 2.@CALFIRESHU @ShastaSheriff pic.twitter.com/yK4vOiolPz
— Shasta County HHSA (@ShastaHHSA) May 12, 2020
Officials appeared to blame rodeo attendees for jeopardizing “the ability for all Shasta County businesses to move forward into full Stage 2 opening, which delays our economic recovery.”
“Mass gatherings are very high risk events that can spread COVID-19 to many individuals at one event. The County condemns this mass gathering and officials are taking steps to investigate the event and will take action accordingly,” the release continued.
However, the county recorded its first coronavirus patient in nearly two weeks on Monday, and Schuette said the patient’s illness was not related to the rodeo, the Searchlight noted.
Despite the backlash, rodeo attendees Chad Bushnell and Don Johnson said they felt the data allowed the event to safely take place, according to KRCR.
“Right now I know in Tehama (County), just right over the hill there is only one confirmed case. Shasta (County), there have been a few,” Bushnell commented.
“We have constitutional rights. We have inalienable rights given to us by God,” Johnson stated.
The rodeo was something community members looked forward to every year, especially this one, said attendee Daniel Warner.
“This event has been going on for 50 years, it is a tradition for probably most of us, the rest of them that are here have been tired of being cooped up for months,” he noted, adding that he did not feel anxious about being in a large crowd.
Bushnell said people went to Sunday’s event because most of them had not been around others since the lockdown began.
“A lot of these people have not seen each other for a long time. Of course, it is a rodeo, I am a big rodeo fan and just getting to be around my friends I haven’t seen in a while. I think that is going to make everybody bring the mothers together for mother’s day,” he concluded.