Ahead of the 2021 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, Freeman Coliseum Executive Director Derrick Howard announced several COVID-19-related updates in a letter to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff on Tuesday.

Howard outlined a list of 10 “enhancements” that have been made throughout the Freeman Coliseum, ranging from adding touchless faucets in the bathrooms to installing air purification air conditioning units in the coliseum and expo hall.

Updates start in the parking lot, where tents and barricades have been purchased and placed to help manage the flow of vehicles. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door with the help of four new infrared thermal scanners. The coliseum also purchased 40 more hand-sanitizing stations, for a total of 70 stations located throughout the coliseum and expo halls.

Wi-Fi services in and around the coliseum have been upgraded to better allow for touchless transactions including paying for parking, tickets, and concessions, the letter states. The coliseum has also added new grab-and-go stands that will allow for quicker purchases and installed Plexiglas sheets for the concession stands and offices to serve as a barrier between guests and workers.

To communicate quickly with event attendees, the coliseum has installed TV screens that will display COVID-19 safety tips and announcements. “In an effort to provide clean air” in the buildings, the coliseum staff has installed air purification lighting in the coliseum and expo halls in addition to the air purification air conditioning units.

“The Air Purification UVC lights kill all bacteria (to include COVID-19), mold, allergens and remove volatile organic compounds and smells,” the letter states.

The coliseum has purchased multiple sanitation products including masks, portable germicidal lights, gloves, and cleaning products. Along with touchless faucets, bathrooms now have automatic flush toilets and urinals, and automated towel dispensers.

“We continue to work on educating ourselves on new and improved ways to be CDC compliant and beyond for the protection of our Community,” Howard states in the letter.

Howard’s letter to Wolff comes a week after Wolff penned a letter to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo’s board chair asking her to consider postponing this year’s event.

Rodeo officials announced in a statement earlier this month this year’s rodeo was still on, but with some major changes and COVID-19 precautions in place. Changes include a scaled-down version of performances set to take place in the coliseum, which has a seating capacity of about 9,500. Rodeo performances, typically held in the larger AT&T Center, are scheduled for Feb. 12 through Feb. 28.

Rodeo spokeswoman Lauren Sides told the San Antonio Report last week that the “safety of rodeo athletes, patrons, and volunteers is of utmost importance.”

“The precautionary measures we are implementing during the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo not only adheres to, but also exceeds current local and state health guidelines,” Sides said.

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Lindsey Carnett

Lindsey Carnett covers the environment, science and utilities for the San Antonio Report.