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Bexar County Commissioners to consider rapid COVID-19 test for San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

Concerned about fast-spreading variants of COVID-19, Bexar County leaders may ask rodeo goers to take a rapid test before entering the gates.

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo could require a new level of COVID-19 compliance, but the proposed safeguard is not their doing.

"We're doing all that we can just to provide a venue for all of these livestock exhibitors," Lauren Sides, Communications & Public Relations Manager for the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo said. "And for us to give back through our scholarship fund."

Sides said Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert wanted to know if the rodeo added rapid COVID-19 tests to its layers of safety for this year's rodeo. 

Stock Show & Rodeo CEO Cody Davenport responded. Sides and Calvert provided the letter.

"There are currently no events taking place throughout the community that require COVID testing for entry," Davenport said.

Sides said the rapid tests proposal places the organization beyond the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.

"Financially and logistically, it's very difficult for us to achieve for this year," she said. 

According to Sides, the annual event goes above and beyond the local and state health officials' markers.

The scaled-down stock show and rodeo will occur in the Freeman Coliseum with requirements for face coverings, social distancing, and temperature screening. 

Sides said expect thermal sensors, biodefense systems to reduce microorganisms, air purification, disinfecting, sanitizing, pod seating in the coliseum, and a cutback on vendors.

But county officials are still concerned, especially with international variants making COVID-19 more transmissible and possibly more deadly.

"I think there needs to be some uniformity and some consistency to protect the public," Commissioner Justin Rodriguez said.

Calvert said the county did not want to duplicate the City of San Antonio's negative experience after the Canelo Alvarez-Callum Smith boxing event at the Alamodome in  December.

"We don't want the county to be having egg on our face that the Canelo fight had with the Alamodome," he said.

City officials came under scrutiny after approving the 11,000+ fan event. The sanctioned boxing match happened as local leaders told people to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19.

County Commissioners will discuss the rapid tests matter at their February 9 meeting.

According to Calvert, the county should assist the rodeo with testing costs.

Sides said estimates are as much as $250 per person. They expect 3,800 people every day. That could be $950,000 each night for the run of the rodeo.

The cost would almost exceed the more than $12 million they give away to Texas children each year.

Calvert said they are researching the cost.