Hidalgo County Judge: Avoid large gatherings, reconsider holding events

EDINBURG — Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez issued a statement Friday morning advising the community to avoid large mass gatherings because of recommendations from state health experts regarding COVID-19.

The judge is advising residents to avoid public gatherings of more than 1,000 people based on information received in a Thursday afternoon conference call between Governor Greg Abbott, Texas health officials and county officials from across the state, the statement from the judge’s office said.

Based on recommendations from the state, Cortez is also advising organizers of events expecting more than 1,000 people to reconsider holding the event, the public and organizers to consider indoor/outdoor crowd density and organizers to consider the essential nature of the gathering, including whether it is necessary or being held for leisure or entertainment, the release said.

“I take seriously any action that might have an economic impact on Hidalgo County,” Cortez wrote in the release. “But even more serious is the health and well-being of Hidalgo County residents. Therefore, I am urging residents to follow the advice of state health experts and reconsider attending any mass gatherings that involve large crowds.”

Representing the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show, Christopher Julian, President/CEO of Advertir, Inc. issued a statement Thursday morning saying that there were no plans to cancel as of then.

“The event is on,” Julian wrote. “Hidalgo County Health Department gave us the green light. Refer all who calls to our web site, www.RGVLS.com, and FaceBook page for details. Lots of information there.”

Hidalgo County also issued a statement addressing the livestock show early Thursday afternoon after repeated media inquiries.

“At this time Hidalgo County is collaborating with the organizers of the rodeo and livestock show regarding any change in status.  The health and safety of citizens is our top concern,” Hidalgo County Public Affairs Director Carlos Sanchez wrote in the statement. “Hidalgo County and the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Officials will work together to continue to monitor the situation.”