SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio’s biggest party is still going forward, although the head of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission acknowledged Tuesday that coronavirus concerns could eventually force it to be postponed or canceled.
The 11-day series of events and parades includes big fundraisers for member organizations. For the moment, Fiesta San Antonio Commission Executive Director Amy Shaw said the commission has asked groups to look into improving the health and safety at their individual events.
“Certainly, you’re going to see more wipe downs. You’re going to see more hand sanitizer dispensers at events,” Shaw said. “That’s where we are right now, is how to make sure it’s safe. And we’ll see what happens between now and April 16th.”
Shaw said they would take their cue from city and public health officials on whether more drastic steps need to be taken in the face of the novel coronavirus.
“I would hate to see Fiesta canceled altogether. You know, postponement would be a much better alternative,” Shaw said.
There haven’t been any formal talks about postponing Fiesta yet, Shaw said, nor did she have any idea to when it would be postponed if that ended up happening.
For the moment, those are all hypothetical issues. A city spokeswoman sent the following statement:
“The Mayor, Council and City staff continue to monitor the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation. As of today, we have not advised event organizers to postpone or cancel any events. Event cancellations will only be considered and implemented if the situation calls for it and Fiesta is several weeks away. We will continue to consult with City and County officials as well as the Fiesta Commission and other key stakeholders to provide the information needed to event organizers so they can make decisions as appropriate. Of course, the Fiesta Commission is the lead organization for the event and they also have the authority to cancel the event if they feel it is appropriate.”
Although more cases are popping up around the United States, no one in San Antonio has tested positive for the virus, aside from people who have been quarantined at JBSA-Lackland.
However, no one had been diagnosed with COVID-19 last week in Austin either when South by Southwest was canceled. Shaw said Fiesta is a different event.
“South by Southwest, you had people coming from all over the world; a lot of the events are indoors. Whereas Fiesta is largely outdoors and about 75% of people who attend Fiesta events live in San Antonio or the surrounding area,” she said.
Shaw said health and safety are the most important thing when considering the options.
“If we can have Fiesta, which I sure hope we can because it’s very good for the community, great. If we have to make adjustments, we’ll make adjustments,” Shaw said.