BFHD urges aganist large gatherings during holiday weekend

TRI-CITIES, WA- The Benton Franklin Health District announced on Thursday that they recorded the largest amount of single day positive COVID-19 cases at 215 on Wednesday.

They are urging the public to not attend or participate in large gatherings this 4th of July weekend. They cite other holidays during this pandemic like Mother's Day, Father's Day and Memorial Day have led to increases in positive cases. They also want large scheduled gatherings this weekend to reconsider their plans.

"Please don't attend, please cancel them it is important that if we want to move forward we need to be unified in our efforts and we need to do the right thing," said Rick Dawson who is the Senior Manager of Surveillance and Investigation Programs.

In Thursday's press conference the Health District mentioned a freedom rodeo taking place in Basin City in which large amounts of people are expected to attend. The rodeo is a peaceful cowboy style protest aimed at Gov. Jay Inslee's pandemic policies. Masks and social distancing at the rodeo are encouraged but it's not required. They say it would be hypocritical for them to demand people to wear masks. 

"Just like any other event there are going to be people who don't follow the rules and because we are protesting our freedom we aren't going to make anyone do anything that they don't want to do because that is their right," said Clay Barry the Freedom Rodeo Media Liaison.

The health district is strongly urging people not to attend. They have had conversations with the governor's office about events like this. 

"That event should not happen it is not allowed in Phase 1 it is not ok it is not safe for our citizens and will and can contribute to the COVID-19 burden in this community," said Dawson. "Which we are so desperately trying to mitigate to allow our communities and our economy to open up."