IDAHO FALLS — The city of Idaho Falls has canceled what would have been the 109th War Bonnet Round Up due to the spread of the novel coronavirus in the Gem State.
“We love the War Bonnet as a city and a community,” Idaho Falls city spokesman Bud Cranor said. “But this year there were too many things — from financial, to health-related, to man-power issues that just made it impossible for the War Bonnet to go on.”
The Idaho Falls Department of Parks and Recreation made the decision Friday and informed all its vendors Tuesday.
The event, which is the oldest rodeo in the state, is typically held at the end of July, which is after Gov. Brad Little’s staged plan to reopen the state between May 1 and June 26.
Despite that, Cranor said state guidelines will remain in place for Idahoans to continue social distancing even at large gatherings until a vaccine has been produced. City officials don’t believe adequate social distancing would have been possibly at the War Bonnet.
Little’s social distancing recommendation is in agreement with guidelines issued by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare on large social gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides the risk of infection, the economic hardships caused by the pandemic have resulted in some businesses being unable to afford their normal sponsorship of the event. The city has also been unable to hire the normal number of seasonal employees due to COVID-19 cutbacks.
“This is a decision that was not made lightly,” Cranor said.
So far, 69 people have positively tested for COVID-19 in eastern Idaho. But as of Tuesday afternoon, only 10 of those people were still showing symptoms or being monitored by either the Eastern Idaho Public Health District or Southeast Idaho Public Health District.
Statewide, 1,952 have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Of those 1,087 people are presumed recovered and 60 people are dead. No COVID-19 related deaths have occurred in eastern Idaho.
For more information about the rodeo visit its website.
CORRECTION:A previous version of this article said the decision was made by the city council. It was actually made by the Idaho Falls Department of Parks and Recreation. EastIdahoNews.com apologizes for the error.