Concrete Cowboy cancels ‘mask off’ party and closes its venues ahead of Wednesday, Mayor Turner announces

Mayor Turner held a press conference on Monday to discuss the city's response to the mask off parties and the COVID-19 wastewater.

HOUSTON – During a press conference on Monday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the owners of Concrete Cowboy are canceling the scheduled “mask off” slated for Wednesday at a local nightclub located on Washington Avenue.

Concrete Cowboy promoted the event and scheduled it for Wednesday, the first day Gov. Greg Abbott’s order goes into effect lifting public health measures. The owners now say their venues will be closed on Wednesday.

Turner encouraged all Houston-area business to continue to enforce the mask policy, despite Abbott’s order.

“I believe two months from now the landscape will be much better than it is, but for now, I think it’s too early to do no masks,” Turner said. “This is not the time to drop our mask policy or drop our guard during the pandemic.”

Turner added with everything opening 100% on Wednesday, he remains fearful of another surge of coronavirus cases in the city.

The Houston Health Department announced that the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 13.1%, which is up from last week.

The health department encouraged Houstonians to continue to do what works, like masking up, social distancing, washing hands and getting tested to ensure the safety of our community.

During the news conference, the Houston Health Department said the U.K. COVID-19 variant was growing in Houston’s wastewater.

On Feb. 8, the U.K. COVID-19 strand was found in 21 of the 39 wastewater plants in the city, according the Health Department. In the end, the department says 19% of all the virus that has been tested in the wastewater across the city has the gene that’s consistent with the U.K. variant.

The Brazilian and the South African variant was also found in the city’s wastewater, but the Health Department was not able to release the exact measurements just yet.

“The race is on to get as many people as possible vaccinated before the U.K. strand takes over and causes us to have another surge,” a Health Department representative said.

About the Authors:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.