COVID-19 cases prompt San Juan to cancel July 4th city celebration

The city of San Juan announced Wednesday that its annual 4th of July Celebration has been canceled as a result of the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases.

Mayor Mario Garza said that he made his decision in the capacity as emergency management director for the city.

“The numbers, obviously, have been increasing tremendously,” Garza said. “As the mayor and as the leader of our community, I just felt like this was the right thing for us to do — to flat out cancel the Fourth of July event.”

Garza said that he did not consult with the city commission about canceling the event, but he did talk to individual members who agreed that it was the right move to make.

The mayor said that the city had already paid half the fees for The Spazmatics, who were going to provide the musical entertainment, the stage and fireworks as well as purchasing COVID-19 insurance.

“The way it works is I got with the promoter, and pretty much he went off and reached out to all the people involved in this event — their agents or their manager to see if we can push back the event,” Garza said. “The promoter for the band and the stage people are pretty much telling us that we can push it back until we have a set date.

“So they’ll be back, but the million-dollar question is, ‘when?’”

Garza said that he anticipates having another event in which The Spazmatics will be available to perform for the city of San Juan, but with the current rise of COVID-19 cases, he said that he could see the event being pushed back to 2021.

“Until there’s a vaccine, or until all of our medical doctors and scientists have a vaccine for it so that we can feel a little bit more comfortable to be outside and enjoy ourselves,” Garza said.

Adding to fears around the city is the recent confirmation that a city employee has tested positive for the coronavirus.

In Tuesday’s announcement by Hidalgo County, there were 143 new positive cases, and six were from San Juan.

Garza confirmed that at least one person in the sanitation department tested positive.

A statement released by the city on Facebook said that all employees who may have been in contact with the individual who tested positive.

“I spoke to the city manager, and I made sure that everyone in that facility got tested,” Garza said. “As we speak, I don’t know the results — if it’s just that one person, or if there are others who are infected. Right now it’s too premature for me to even determine a number.”