By: Mario Conde, Reporter
Although Imperial County has implemented all state-mandated guidelines and best practices and adopted some stricter health orders than the state in its efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, the county still struggles in the battle against the virus.
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish and Wildfire, and California Department of Parks and Recreation requesting input on upcoming tourist seasons at their Aug. 4 meeting.
The Imperial County is home to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (also known as Glamis). The Glamis Dunes are a favorite of off-highway enthusiasts across the country. The season in Imperial County will begin on October 1, 2020, and is scheduled to conclude on April 15, 2021. Additionally, Imperial County is home for dove hunting. The first half of the dove season normally occurs in the first two weeks of September. During this time, Imperial County is a popular destination for hunters around the state and neighboring communities. Lastly, four state recreational areas are completely or partially located in different parts of Imperial County.
“Due to the number of cases that we are experiencing in Imperial County, the lack of a decline in our cases, and the concern of reaching of exceeding hospital capacity, there is a sense of reluctance to encouraging additional visitors to our community,” County CEO Tony Rohoutas.
Large community events such as Cattle Call, Farmers Market, and Christmas Parades are still in question at this moment. Beyond Borders Gazette asked County Health Officer Dr. Stephan Munday at a press briefing held July 20 if the Imperial County Health Department would allow these events to take place since the county is on the State monitoring list.
“I wouldn’t make any specific determination at this moment. It’s only in July. And who what will happen in November and December is hard to predict. But what I can tell you is that gatherings at this point in time are not allowed by the state and the county,” Munday told Beyond Borders Gazette. “So these kinds of gatherings currently would not be possible. But it is certainly possible that if there is a change in the way the outbreak is going that would change. And since the end of the year is still about five months away, it is certainly possible that the situation could change significantly before that time.”
Supervisor District 4 Ryan Kelley asked the county to see what will be the situation with the annual Cattle Call and said he was contacted by the rodeo committee in regards to what will happen to the event. He added that the rodeo committee is considering having their events without an audience and broadcast the rodeo competition online.
“Not having a Cattle Call one year will be devastating for them financially since it would be hard for them to bring back sponsors and continue with the event,” Kelley said.