Houston leaders approving more large events amid COVID-19 surge

Thursday, December 10, 2020
Concerns raised ahead of cheerleading event in Houston
The cheer competition will bring an estimated $680,000 to Houston, but is it worth the risk? ABC13 reporter Roxie Bustamante shows you how the city plans to make this event safe.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The city of Houston is approving more large scale events, including a cheer competition where thousands of families will be traveling to Houston next Friday to compete at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Encore Championships rented out about half of the convention center for the three-day cheerleading competition, according to Houston First.

Tina Sexton with Varsity All Stars sent ABC13 the following statement regarding the cheer competition:

"Encore has an excellent plan in place for the event next weekend. We will not be allowing any spectators, and we won't have more than 15 teams inside the building at a time throughout the course of the event. We have communicated a very detailed plan to registered coaches as of late yesterday and will be hosting calls with the coaches tomorrow to discuss the plan with them directly. We may still make amendments to our plan after our discussions with the coaches."

Houston First says the event is expected to bring in an estimated $680,000 to Houston, which includes $350,000 in hotel revenue.

"It's, you know, 300 to 400 people in the entire convention center. It's a huge space," said Susan Christian, the director of special events at the mayor's office. "I do know that the event plan that we looked at and that Dr. Persse looked at can successfully implement all of the best practices known."

It's not the only large scale event that has been approved by the city.

Dr. Stanley Spinner, the Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Texas Children's Pediatrics and Texas Children's Urgent Care, said as the COVID-19 surge continues across the state and nationwide, families need to take all precautions and evaluate the risks.

"As we see a lot of our patients that are testing positive, what we find is that they have been to various events where they are around other people. Clearly, that's where their exposure is occurring," Spinner said. "Keep in mind when you are letting your kids be with their friends or being at these activities, that's increasing the risk to them, that's increasing the risk to you and that's increasing the risk to other loved ones in your family that may be a lot more medically fragile."

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