Coronavirus: California rodeo attracts thousands despite social distancing orders

‘We have inalienable rights given to us by God,’ spectator says

Tom Embury-Dennis
Monday 11 May 2020 12:58 BST
Thousands attend rodeo in California

Thousands attended a rodeo in California despite state orders against public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic, it has been reported.

Crowds could be seen packed tightly in the stands at Sunday’s annual Cottonwood Rodeo in rural Shasta County, after local police said they would not enforce the state’s lockdown orders.

Video also showed people queueing outside toilets and food trucks, even though organisers promised food would not be sold at the event.

Despite the crisis – California has seen more than 66,000 cases of Covid-19 – a number of spectators told local media they felt safe enough to attend due to Shasta County’s low rates of confirmed infections.

“This event’s been going on for 50 years, it’s a tradition for probably most of us, the rest of them that are here have been tired of being cooped up for months,” one festival-goer told KRCR News, an ABC affiliate station.

“We have constitutional rights, we have inalienable rights given to us by God,” another said.

But other Californians complained about the “nightmare” event in a state which is still imposing social distancing measures.

“Please review how Cottonwood held a Rodeo today; very crowded, NO masks anywhere!” one Twitter user asked of California governor Gavin Newsom.

She added: “There were people everywhere, crowded all together – this is a nightmare!”

Another wrote: “Cottonwood held a rodeo today with over 2,000 people showing up ... People are so damn selfish.”

Coronavirus has killed more than 80,000 people in the US, with the death toll still rising.

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