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South Texas State Fair canceled after Jefferson County judge signs disaster declaration amid coronavirus concern

The fair was previously canceled in 2005 and 2008 due to Hurricanes Rita and Ike.

BEAUMONT, Texas — The YMBL South Texas State Fair has been canceled for the third time ever in its history.

The fair was effectively canceled after Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick signed a disaster declaration due to coronavirus Friday afternoon.

The cancellation follows what has been a ripple effect of fairs, festivals and concerts being pulled over coronavirus concerns. The Houston Rodeo was one of the first major local events to be canceled over fears of the virus. 

The declaration, which took effect on Friday, March 13, 2020, stated that “any event sponsored or permitted by Jefferson County shall cease.”

MORE | Read the disaster declaration

The declaration, which was signed by Branick at 1:40 p.m. Friday, also stated “events greater than 200 persons shall cease at all public facilities across Jefferson County.”

The move comes after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a statewide public health disaster over coronavirus Friday.

RELATED: Texas governor declares statewide public health disaster over coronavirus

The declaration was signed about an hour before President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on to bolster funding for fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

RELATED: President Trump says he will 'likely' take coronavirus test 'fairly soon'

RELATED: President Trump declares national emergency on coronavirus

The fair was previously canceled in 2005 and 2008 due to Hurricanes Rita and Ike.

Following the two hurricane cancellations the YMBL moved the fair from the fall to March beginning in 2009.

The Young Men’s Business League has operated the fair since 1942 after taking over the “Beaumont Fair” which had operated since 1901 according to the YMBL website.

Earlier this week YMBL South State Texas State Fair vice chairman Dohn LaBiche told 12News they had no plans to cancel the fair but were keeping their eye on the situation.

Jefferson County was obligated by contract to allow the fair to go on at the county-owned fairgrounds at Ford Park, according to LaBiche.

Friday’s disaster declaration changed everything.

“We’re there to follow what the state, what our local health department, what the CDC says that we should do and we’re still hopeful that we can have our fair,” LaBiche told 12News on Wednesday.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Lower your risk

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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