ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)- The 62nd annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup will take place this year, despite growing concerns of the continued spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus.
Round-up officials have suggested visitors should attend the event on days with lighter crowds, Friday and Sunday. As additional precaution, each vendor booth and snake display will have sanitizer bottles for visitors to use.
9-year Sweetwater resident Richard Jimenez said he will not attend the 62nd annual Rattlesnake Round-Up at risk becoming infected.
“People are coming in from out of town and from other states and for that reason, I’m not going to go,” said Jimenez. “I’m not going to chance it.”
Back in 2015, an economic impact study was conducted documenting nearly 26,000 people attended the Round-Up. Twenty-one thousand of those people were not local attendees. Exec. Director Karen Hunt of the Sweetwater-Nolan County Chamber of Commerce said these numbers have stayed consistent in recent years.
“We do have visitors coming in, and the calls that have been coming in are coming from California, Florida, one from Michigan that are calling to see if the event is still taking place because of their concern of the Coronavirus,” Hunt said.
As thousands of people flock to the Nolan Count Coliseum, officials have consulted with the Public Health Department to keep visitors healthy. The health department suggests visitors bring sanitation wipes and pocket hand sanitizer and to monitor their children closely.
Nolan County Coliseum marketing director Terry Locklar said the coliseum has even hired additional staff to maintain restrooms to follow CDC guidelines of washing hands more frequently.
“They’re going to be mainly the crew that’s going to go around and keep stuff disinfected as far as door handles, railings, [anything] in the restrooms,” said Locklar.