The Levelland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and staff announced Monday that it would be postponing the annual Early Settlers’ Day event, originally set for July 11, to September 19 due to the risks related to COVID-19.
Mary Siders, president of the Levelland Chamber of Commerce, said originally the decision was to host Early Settlers’ Day on the second Saturday of the year as is normally planned. However, after careful consideration, Siders said the Board of Directors has determined that a date change was necessary.
” The safety and health of our patrons, attendees, volunteers, vendors and staff are our number on priority,” said Jim Mara, chairman of the Levelland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “At this time, it is a huge risk having large groups together anywhere. Many of the vendors for our event come from areas in the state and region that are showing increased cases of [COVID-19]. We do not want to chance the well being of our community. Our hope is that the environment will be safer for large events by September, if not; necessary considerations and adjustments will be made accordingly closer to that date.”
Siders said that Early Settlers’ Day is a time to celebrate the community and many of the honorees are in the high-risk age group for COVID-19. Therefore, the Chamber found it made the most sense to move the event to a later date.
The Chamber of Commerce organizes and hosts this event as an annual fundraiser for its programs and has been discussing possible date changes prior to the onset of COVID-19. Siders said vendor numbers and attendees have been on the decline due to temperatures on summer pavement, thus this will allow the Chamber an opportunity to make a move to a cooler date.
In addition, many new attractions, planned for July. have been canceled due to COVID-19, and Siders said the hope is they will be able to join the Chamber on the September date.
Siders said a lot of time and thought was put into the new date change.
“The fall is an active time in West Texas and several elements were considered like other event dates that would compete for our vendors, high school and Texas Tech football,” Siders said. “Chamber of Commerce officials sought out expertise from event insurance providers, the Texas Chamber of Commerce Professionals and Texas Festivals & Events prior to recommending the decisions of a date change.
Siders said registered vendors will have the option of transferring their registration to the new date in September or to be issued a refund. The Chamber of Commerce staff will visit with event sponsors allowing options if desired. For questions or more details, contact the Levelland Chamber of Commerce at (806) 894-3157. Updated details can be found at levelland.com/events.
The decision by the Chamber of Commerce came on the heels of Texas Governor Abbott announcing Friday that he was imposing limitations on certain businesses and services to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Texas. The governor also said that outdoor events with more than 100 people in attendance will be required to be approved by city or county governments, with some exceptions.
The governor announced Friday that businesses that receive 51 percent or more of their gross receipts from alcohol sales would be required to close at noon Friday. He also announced that dine-in restaurants would be required to dial back their occupancy rate from 75 percent to 50 percent of their total indoor capacity beginning Monday.
A press release from the governor’s office said this 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 percent, which the governor previously said would lead to further preventative action.