Cancellations mount along with calls to avoid large gatherings

Announcements of cancellations, postponements and the implementation of precautionary measures continued to mount on Monday as local entities in Hidalgo and Starr counties are navigating new waters brought on by calls to avoid gatherings of 50 or more people due to the coronavirus.

— The Edinburg UFO Festival has been postponed to Aug. 13-15. Originally scheduled for the first weekend of April, the festival was postponed due to travel concerns for the celebrity presenters, which appear on TV shows such as Ancient Aliens.

— McAllen ISD is now in stage 3 of its coronavirus action plan, which calls for all students and teachers to stay home, with the exception of some staff through April. Implemented during an emergency school board meeting Monday afternoon, these requisites will be implemented for the two weeks following Spring Break, beginning March 23 to April 3.

During this time, students will receive instruction and school work online. Staff who will continue to report to work include police officers and members of food services, transportational, custodial and financial departments.

— Weslaco’s annual Texas Onion Fest has been postponed, following the city’s ban of all events for 30 days. The festival, which celebrates the development of the sweet onion, was originally slated for March 28.

— The city of San Juan held a special emergency meeting on Monday evening regarding the coronavirus threat and the city’s efforts to educate residents about safety precautions. Fire Chief Tirso Garza, who is also the emergency management director, gave a presentation for the city commission detailing the spread of coronavirus, symptoms, prevention tactics, and what to do if infected.

The city also encouraged its residents to use tap water in lieu of buying large quantities of bottled water. The presentation will be available soon on the city’s website, as well as hard copies in English and Spanish where water bills are paid.

— Inmate visitations at the Starr County Detention Center have been suspended as a precautionary measure to comply with recommendations of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. The suspension only applies to public visitations.