Mayor and Harris County judge set record straight on decision to cancel rodeo

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's been six weeks since the Houston rodeo was shut down due to coronavirus concerns, and now, city and county leaders are expanding on how they ultimately made the decision.

In a briefing on the latest COVID-19 response efforts on Monday, both Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Mayor Sylvester Turner said they stand behind their decisions.

"They were decisions that were unpopular, but as always, I don't make decisions based on politics," said Hidalgo. "I make decisions based on science, based on data and that means sometimes taking positions that are unpopular or that people misconstrue and I'm okay with that, as long as we are doing things right [and] doing right by the community."

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With reports coming out about the timeline of RodeoHouston's closure, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo addressed how she and other leaders came to the decision.

In early March, officials cited a Montgomery County case, who was later identified as a Patton Village officer, as the primary reason that RodeoHouston closed for the remainder of its season.

READ MORE: Montgomery Co. COVID-19 patient who attended rodeo cook-off out of hospital

They learned he was at the rodeo cook-off on Friday, Feb. 28.

Turner recalled receiving the news of the case as he was leaving a town hall meeting.

"I indicated to [Health Authority for the Houston Health Department, Dr. David Persse] to notify people at the rodeo of that connection, and that it was a serious connection, " said Turner. "At the point with that contact, we were going to have to bring the rodeo to an end. And on the following day, Wednesday, was when the rodeo came to an end."
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