There are no plans to cancel the Nederland Heritage Festival

Published 10:17 am Thursday, March 12, 2020

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NEDERLAND — The Nederland Heritage Festival is continuing as scheduled through Sunday.

Festival organizers said there has been little concern raised from attendees about coronavirus or COVID-19.

“We have not had any concerns voiced to us from any citizens or anything,” festival executive director Shannon Hemby said. “Everybody is just very excited. My thought is if you don’t feel good or are uncomfortable with it, stay at home and take care of yourself.”

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Hemby said she remains in touch with city officials, stressing “we are business as usual.”

Numerous hand-sanitizing stations are placed throughout the Nederland Heritage Festival for anyone’s use. Hemby said many have taken advantage of the germ-fighting measure, noting organizers have been quick to refill each receptacle when needed.

Nederland City Manager Chris Duque said the city, which does not have a health department, relies on information relayed by the state or county through statewide phone calls.

“(Wednesday), when we spoke with the county, I think it was made clear to us and we were reminded there were no reported (COVID-19) cases in Jefferson County and there are no reported cases in Nederland,” Duque said. “I think information has been passed along to the public as far as steps they can take to try to prevent this illness. We also got phone calls yesterday from people with concerns with the event. They were making decisions as far as their safety. Every individual is allowed to make those decisions.”

Duque said the mayor and city council members have not expressed any desire to him to limit large-scale gatherings within city limits.

To do such, according to Duque, a disaster declaration would be needed.

“Without a reported case in either this county or in the city, it would be difficult to rationalize making that declaration,” he said. “I think what people are failing to recognize or remember is part of the reason they cancelled the rodeo in Houston was because one of the individuals that tested positive had visited that location.”

Amid all the fears, quarantines and stockpiling of food, it has been easy to ignore the fact that more than 60,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus spreading around the globe, the Associated Press reported.

The disease can cause varying degrees of illness and is especially troublesome for older adults and people with existing health problems, who are at risk of severe effects, including pneumonia. But for most of those affected, coronavirus creates only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, with the vast majority recovering from the virus.