CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Games of Texas brings together athletes and spectators from all across the state, and this year, it’s taking place in Corpus Christi after it was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, that doesn’t mean that the event's organizers -- the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation, the City of Corpus Christi, and Nueces County -- are not afraid that the event will help the COVID-19 virus to spread.
Mayor Paulette Guajardo said she is talking with the TAAF daily about safety protocols they should take at the games, especially at events that may draw larger crowds.
"There are a couple of events, such as track and field and swimming, where attendance is expected in maybe greater numbers," she said. "So we're definitely going to work with them to have protocols to make sure that it is all being held very responsibly.”
The TAAF said people getting vaccinated helped them make the decision to have the games this year, as opposed to last year, when the vaccine didn’t exist.
They, along with the city, said masks will not be required at events and players and coaches will not need to get tested for COVID-19 or be vaccinated against it.
The TAAF said it's looking at other similar events to see what sorts of protocols it should put in place for the games.
“We’ve also had a year of school districts, colleges, professional sports that have all showed different protocols that are smart to follow and so it’s given us some guidance,” said TAAF Executive Director Mark Lord.
The event will also have hand sanitizer and masks ready for those that want them.
Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales said people should be protecting themselves against the virus by taking safety protocols like wearing masks if they are not vaccinated. She said helping slow down the spread of the virus to keep people safe should motivate people to take the safety protocols. She said that she would not mandate that businesses require masks.
“We’re not interested in mandates -- what we’re interested in is good decision-making, so I leave that up to the business, just like the governor has left it up to businesses all these months to make the progress that we’ve made," she said. "And we did make it."
The TAAF said it's meeting with the Nueces County-Corpus Christi Health District and the City of Corpus Christi to discuss the possibility of limiting spectators at the events and spreading out the schedule of events.