The organizers of a rodeo at a Bridgeville farm that state officials called fear could be a "superspreader" of COVID-19 last weekend have been fined by the Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement.
El Rancho and Alex Garcia, who is the director of the Mexican Folkloric Dance Society of New York, were fined $21,000 for violating Delaware's State of Emergency order tied to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The event attracted as many as 1,500 to 2,000 people, Delaware State Police said, in violation of Delaware's State of Emergency. Delaware has limited outdoor gatherings to 250 persons during the pandemic.
Photographs of the event on social media showed a concert stage, live music, dancing, no social distancing, and a lack of mask-wearing--images Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health, called "appalling" and "horrible" earlier this week. Governor John Carney called images he saw "disturbing."
The penalties break down to include $10,000 for mask violations, $10,000 for social distancing violations, and $1,000 for failing to seek proper approval for the event.
DATE agents said Garcia held similar events on August 28, 2020, and September 4, 2020, at an indoor venue on Kirkwood Highway as well. The $21,000 fine encompasses violations tied to those events as well.
Garcia has been denied permits for two similar events he had planned to host this weekend in the Wilmington area. He will also have to appear before the Office of Alcohol Beverage Control Commissioner John Cordrey at a later date as well.
DPH noted that if event organizers provide contact information for all performers, spectators, staff, promoters, organizers, producers and attendees, including names, phone numbers, and email addresses, penalties issued could be reduced.
“We want to ensure accountability for those acting in an irresponsible manner,” said Rattay. Delawareans and Delaware businesses have made tremendous sacrifices over the months and an event like this counters all of the efforts that have taken place."
The state is encouraging anyone who attended to the rodeo to get tested for COVID-19.