SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. — An order suspending city-sponsored public events has been extended through the end of the year, as part of measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 and to help families struggling financially as a result of the pandemic.
Among the events to be nixed in 2020 are two that typically draw tens of thousands of people — the Feria del Algodon, the border’s city annual fair, and Festival Tierra Sonora, a music festival.
In an announcement on Facebook on Monday, San Luis Rio Colorado Mayor Santos Gonzalez told residents that funds budgeted by the city for the events will be reallocated to the city’s pantry to distribute food and other assistance to the those in need in the city.
“We have decided to redirect funds from the budget to confront this pandemic and to (promote) the recovery of San Luis Rio Colorado. I am hoping for your complete understanding. These are not times for fiesta.”
Last week, Gonzalez said elected city officials had agreed to donate all or portions of their salaries from this month through August to the pantry to help residents hurting financially and to purchase medical equipment.
Under the pact, Gonzalez is giving 100% of his salary, while council members are donating half their salaries. The síndico procurador — similar to a city attorney in the United States — is giving up 75%.
The Feria del Algodon, a long-standing event in San Luis Rio Colorado similar to a county fair in the United States, was slated for October. It attracted more than 60,000 visitors last year, while the Festival Tierra Sonora, scheduled for November, drew nearly 50,000 in 2019.
The mayor urged residents to cancel or postpone private events that traditionally bring together groups of people, such as celebrations of Mother’s Day, slated for Sunday in Mexico as well as the United States, and wedding parties and quinceañeras.
Gonzalez added that the city will implement a policy of budget austerity throughout the rest of the year.
The city has also asked Sonora’s governor, Claudia Pavlovich, to order the state to advance receipts from the toll bridge over the Colorado River to the city. That money, he said, would go toward a program to assist businesses and workers that make what is called the “informal economy,” as well as toward street improvement projects aimed at providing employment.