The coronavirus pandemic that led to a three-month shutdown has flared up and taken more social event victims with it.
This year there will be no public fireworks displays in Austin County and the 12th annual Sealybration has been canceled.
“The Sealy Community Foundation has put a lot of thought and prayer into what we should do regarding our 12th Annual Sealybration. After meeting with City of Sealy officials ... and reviewing the recent order from Governor (Greg) Abbott ... we are saddened to announce the cancellation of Sealybration 2020,” the Sealy Community Foundation said in a statement.
Sealy Mayor Janice Whitehead sent a letter to foundation President Melanie Willingham dated June 26 stating, “Pursuant to the Executive Order GA 28 issued by Governor Greg Abbott, on June 26, 2020, the annual Sealybration scheduled for July 10 & 11, 2020, is hereby cancelled. This includes all entertainment, carnival attractions, vendors, food trucks, and sporting events.”
In the SCF statement, the board of directors expressed hope for next year’s event.
“Please know that this decision did not come lightly, but we feel it is necessary for the well-being of all involved,” the statement says. “We will be back next year. We love what we do too much to stop now! Until then, we are praying for everyone’s health and safety.”
In separate acknowledgements, both County Judge Tim Lapham and Sealy City Manager Lloyd Merrell said they were unaware of any public fireworks displays taking place this year for Independence Day. Many municipalities in Texas have canceled fireworks shows to help reduce crowds and the spread of COVID-19.
In a press release Friday, the governor’s office said the “decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%, which the governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action.
“The targeted, measured directives in the executive order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state.”
Friday’s order dictates:
All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at noon today. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday, June 29.
Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.
“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in the release. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.
“We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part. Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can. I know that our collective action can lead to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 because we have done it before, and we will do it again.”