Coronavirus: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo shutting down

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, a massive event that stretches over several weekends, is shutting down due to coronavirus concerns, rodeo officials said Wednesday.

The annual event routinely draws more than 100,000 visitors to NRG Park on Saturdays and Sundays, the Houston Chronicle reported.

In a statement, rodeo officials said they were “saddened” by the decision, announced by the Houston Health Department and Mayor Sylvester Turner at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

"In the interest of public health, the City of Houston and the Houston Health Department have ordered the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to close," the statement said. "The rodeo will respectfully and dutifully comply with the city's order."

“We’re doing this in order to save lives. Real lives of real people,” David Persse, of the Houston Health Department, said at the news conference.

The grounds were expected to close at 4 p.m. local time Wednesday, rodeo officials tweeted.

The event began March 3 and was scheduled to run through March 22, the Chronicle reported.

Rodeo officials said a ticket refund process “is still in the works” and will be announced when details are finalized.

The rodeo's cancellation also means that several concerts scheduled during the event have been scrapped, KTRK reported. Country singer Luke Bryan was to perform on the event's final day. Lizzo was scheduled for Friday, Keith Urban was to perform Monday and Brad Paisley was to take the stage March 21.

The rodeo is the latest event to be shut down. Earlier Wednesday, the E3 video game conference was postponed until late October. On Tuesday, organizers of the Coachella music festival in Southern California postponed this year's event to late October. The annual South by Southwest music and technology festival in Austin, Texas, was canceled for the first time in 34 years.

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