The last time the California Rodeo Salinas happened was 2019, after the 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic.

In spring of 2020, the wave of cancellations for events large and small kept coming as it became clear the pandemic was not a few-weeks or even a few-months event. Now, roughly 10 months after the first case was confirmed in the U.S., the first round of vaccinations has been administered, but case counts in California and other parts of the country are at their worst. 

And with that mixed news, and ongoing stay-at-home orders still in effect—meaning large gatherings (and small gatherings, for that matter) are forbidden—a new wave of event cancellations is beginning. 

Sea Otter Classic, an annual bike racing and expo held at Laguna Seca, had booked dates for May; they announced they will move the springtime event to Oct. 7-10. 

"After recent discussions with health and permitting officials, we’ve determined we will not be able to conduct an event in May," Sea Otter's Jan. 11 announcement reads. 

The California Rodeo Salinas, originally scheduled for July of 2021, has been pushed back to Sept. 23-26. 

"After a recommendation from the California Rodeo’s Covid-19 Response Committee, the Executive Board voted unanimously to postpone the 111th California Rodeo Salinas," according to a Jan. 7 announcement. 

Another big annual event, the AT&T Pro Am golf tournament, is planning to proceed on schedule Feb. 8-14, but with a big change to who is playing: Instead of the event's beloved celebrity-pro pairings this year, golfers will be limited to professional golfers only. 

That means the 75th annual event will feature 156 pros, who will be limited to two courses only, Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill. Also absent will be the fans who historically spread out throughout Pebble Beach for the duration of the event.

“This was a very difficult decision, but the right one given the recent surge in Covid-19 cases,” Bill Perocchi, CEO of Pebble Beach Company, said in a statement issued on Jan. 14. 

Pebble Beach Co., in conjunction with the PGA Tour, AT&T and tournament host Monterey Peninsula Foundation decided collectively to modify the event. 

Last week, there were 89.5 new Covid cases per 100,000 people per day in Monterey County, an all-time high. 

Even as vaccines roll out, large gatherings are likely going to be among the last types of events to experience a lifting of restrictions. 

In a statement last year about cancellations, the Monterey County Health Department explained the logic this way: "Large gatherings are ‘super spreaders’ and create a high-risk environment. At a large gathering, people can be packed together with few options to safely social distance, touch lots of shared surfaces and provide little enforcement of face covering requirements."

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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