Public safety motivating factor
By Traci Chapman
Mustang Chamber of Commerce late Saturday announced it would not hold Western Days, the city’s signature event.
It is the first time in its 47-year history Western Days has been canceled, chamber president/CEO Renee Peerman said; the move comes as COVID-19 cases continue to spike across Oklahoma, including in Canadian County. Western Days routinely brings thousands of people – both residents and those traveling to Mustang – to its two days of activities.
“The Board just felt it was the right thing to do,” Peerman said in a release.
The decision was made by the chamber board of directors during a Thursday emergency meeting, held via Zoom; no indication was given of the cancellation until the Saturday night announcement.
Officials said earlier this year they were reluctant to cancel the annual event, a collaboration not only between the chamber and city of Mustang, but also many nonprofits, organizations, businesses and Mustang Public School District. Those entities all would suffer financially should Western Days not be held, they said in June – before COVID-19 cases began a major jump.
“Public health, not the bottom dollar, was the deciding factor in making the decision,” Peerman stated in the Saturday release. “Several factors were carefully considered, including the participation of student groups, food service and crowd-distancing; fear played no part in the discussion.”
Oklahoma State Department of Health Thursday reported 737 new coronavirus positive cases that day; only the day before, 13 people were reported to have died as a result of the virus. OSDH reported 965 new cases Saturday, with 12 new deaths, records showed.
Officials plan to bring back Western Days for its 48th outing in 2021.
Please see the complete story in the July 30 issue of the Mustang Times.