City votes to delay all Fourth of July events

Mark Wilson
During an emergency city council meeting, the council discussed whether or not to cancel Fourth of July activities.

By now, just about everyone is singing the tune, “COVID, COVID go away — don’t come again some other day.”

In an emergency meeting broadcast by the city of Stephenville late Friday afternoon, City Council members voted by a 6-2 margin to postpone all city-sponsored events that had been scheduled for the Fourth of July until either Labor Day or another day to be determined. This year, Labor Day will be Monday, Sept. 7.

The postponed events include the annual fireworks display and the live concert at the City Park, along with the downtown Fourth of July parade .

The postponement, of course, was due to the recent upward spike in COVID-19 positive test results among Erath County residents.

After the Council members discussed multiple options, Mayor Doug Svien stated just prior to the 6-2 vote that the proposed motion was “To postpone the entire event until the Labor Day, or a date of which the council comes up with.”

Earlier, Council member Brady Pendleton made a motion, seconded by Brandon Huckabee, to postpone all city-sponsored events except for the fireworks display. That motion was voted down, by a 5-3 vote.

“We took into account there would be no football games (on Labor Day), and it’s a national holiday,” Stephenville Mayor Doug Svien said Monday. “Because of that, that was a logical time to do it.”

Svien noted early in the meeting that 20 percent of recent local test results received on Thursday were positive for COVID-19, and that in just a matter of a few days the number of local patients hospitalized had gone from zero to seven.

“It has exploded,” Svien said of the recent increase in cases.

The meeting was called following the latest executive order (GA 28) from Gov. Greg Abbott, which restricted public gatherings of more than 100 people.

Allen Barnes said during the meeting that with GA 28, Abbott “clarified 26 by saying that a county judge or a mayor, whoever had jurisdiction, would be required to permit or allow outdoor groups of 100 or more. And I think that’s where the question of the Fourth of July came up because we were anticipating several thousand versus a small amount.”

Svien replied, “It does allow for an exception to that.”