Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo will end, and "phase down" at 4 pm Wednesday, March 11, at a press conference. Ticket refunds will be posted on the RodeoHouston website. Those who purchased tickets through AXS can get information via the website.
He will also sign an emergency health declaration for the City of Houston, which will remain in place for seven days. A continuation will depend on a vote by city council.
The Tour de Houston will also be canceled or rescheduled, as will other City of Houston events.
"We'll make the necessary decisions to keep everyone safe," Turner added.
Meanwhile, rodeo officials released this statement:
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 Rodeo will respectfully and dutifully comply with the City’s order.
The Rodeo is deeply saddened; however, the safety and well-being of our guests and our community is our top priority. Out of precaution, the City has decided that this is the best course of action for our community.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been a fabric of this community since 1932. Having to close early is extremely difficult as guests, volunteers, exhibitors, rodeo athletes and entertainers look forward to the 20 days of the Rodeo each year.
We look forward to the 2021 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to continue to promote agriculture, education, entertainment and Western heritage. We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Updates will be posted at rodeohouston.com/2020.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo will be canceled due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus, according to city officials. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told council members on Wednesday, March 11, that the rodeo would be closing down some 11 days ahead of the March 22 finale, according to CultureMap content partner, ABC13.
An official closing date and plans for refunds have yet to be announced.
This comes as an online petition was started ahead of Wednesday's announcement, which was signed by thousands. Thus far, 14 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Houston. More than 500,000 fans have already attended the rodeo, which started on March 3. The rodeo sees more than 2.5 million visitors per year.
The rodeo is the latest in a growing number of large events across the United States that have been cancelled or postponed, including South by Southwest, which has already announced layoffs. Initially, the rodeo had balked on closing, citing visitor demographics.
“The Rodeo is predominantly a local event, with 73 percent of the 2019 Rodeo visitors residing in the greater Houston area, 94 percent in Texas, and 99 percent in the U.S.," the rodeo statement read. “In contrast, 26 percent of the 2019 SXSW attendees were international.”
The 2019 rodeo generated a total economic impact of $227 million, per the rodeo’s 2019 Economic Impact Study. The rodeo also provided a total economic activity of $391 million in Greater Houston.
CultureMap will update this story as it develops.