Coronavirus: Rodeo in Shasta County delays plans to reopen

A day after crowds flocked to a rodeo in Cottonwood, a community of about 3,000 people in Shasta County, the county health officer said Monday that the rodeogoers — many of whom thronged the town’s livestock auction without masks or keeping a safe distance between one another — have delayed the county’s plans to reopen.

“I am not happy and the state isn’t happy and it’s impacting the approval of our variance,” Dr. Karen Ramstrom said in a news release.

Last week, Ramstrom said Shasta County had met certain requirements that would allow some storefronts, dine-in restaurants, childcare centers, shopping malls and office buildings to reopen — subject to approval by the state government.

In Shasta County, which has a population of about 180,000, 32 people have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Four people have died.

Gov. Gavin Newsom took note of Sunday’s Cottonwood Rodeo, the county said Monday, and its reopening will be delayed.

Ramstrom blasted the rodeo-goers for potentially infecting not just themselves but “vulnerable people who did not attend.” And by delaying the opening of nonessential businesses, the attendees harmed the county’s economic recovery, Ramstrom added.

The rodeo’s organizers refused to cancel, according to the county, which said Monday that it is “taking steps to investigate the event and will take action accordingly.”

Last week, Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini told the Redding Record Searchlight that his department didn’t condone the event but would “work toward enforcement through education.”

Sitting and standing shoulder to shoulder, crowds of people took in the riding, roping and racing Sunday, according to local media reports. Many wore cowboy hats; far fewer wore masks.

One attendee told KRCR-TV Channel 7: “If you were worried about everybody that you came into contact with, why would you even bother to go outside?”

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