The fate of Fiesta this year has yet to be determined amid the ongoing pandemic.
The fate of Fiesta this year has yet to be determined amid the ongoing pandemic. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The Fiesta Commission will soon make a decision on its 2021 plans, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said on Thursday at a COVID-19 briefing.

The commission had contracted Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon and health policy expert, to advise on the 2021 iteration of the festival and prepare coronavirus protocols in the hopes that some of the event could safely take place in person.

But in the wake of recent cancellations and postponements of public events, including those associated with Fiesta such as the annual Oyster Bake, questions have been raised about the fate of Fiesta 2021.

“The Fiesta Commission has been meeting with health officials,” Nirenberg said. “I’ve had a conversation with them, and they’re anticipating an announcement on Fiesta within the next week.”

After an initial postponement from the spring to the fall last year, the 2020 edition of Fiesta was ultimately canceled as it became abundantly clear the event would pose public health concerns with coronavirus still spreading. It was the first year San Antonio went without a Fiesta celebration since World War II.

COVID-19 hospitalizations, though, have decreased by nearly 250 in the past 10 days, a hopeful sign that health care facilities won’t max out in light of the post-holiday surge. The decrease in COVID-19 patients aligns with a statewide drop in hospitalizations.

“We are trending in the right direction,” Nirenberg said. “I’ll call it a trend for right now, but we’ll confirm that by the end of the week if these numbers continue to move in that direction.”

Also following a similar pattern as the state numbers, however, are COVID-19-caused deaths in Bexar County, as January’s record number of fatalities from the disease rises.

On Thursday, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District reported 20 more deaths, bringing the toll to 2,027.

San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich on Thursday joined the more than 110,000 Bexar County residents who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

In an NBA Cares-led public service announcement, the 72-year-old coach got the shot and encouraged others to do the same.

“Science-wise, it’s a no-brainer,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do so we can all get on track again.”

Nirenberg said Thursday that he hopes the City’s vaccination registration process will be smoothed out over the next few weeks, as the federal government changes the way it notifies state governments about incoming vaccine shipments. The mayor said he had been in contact with the White House, which has promised to devise a three-week forecast system telling states how much of the vaccine they should expect to receive in that time frame. That would then allow the City, Nirenberg said, to offer the appointments with more advance notice and more predictably.

“That will allow us to … give people peace of mind that they at least have an appointment waiting for them,” he said.

Here are the local coronavirus numbers as of 7 p.m. Thursday:

  • 166,022 total cases, 1,752 new cases
  • 2,027 deaths, 20 new deaths
  • 1,276 in hospital, 10% beds available
  • 397 patients in intensive care
  • 249 patients on ventilators, 49% ventilators available
  • 113,458 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)
JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.