TYLER, Texas — During the coronavirus pandemic, public health officials have asked people to avoid large crowds, and many public leaders have banned them. However, hundreds of people will converge on the Harvey Hall Convention Center this weekend for the Tyler Tattoo Expo.
So why is this kind of event happening now when the virus is spreading so quickly?
The Ink Masters Tattoo Expo was originally planned to take place earlier this year but was pushed back to this weekend because of the pandemic.
"Before we're given the green light to have the show, we have to submit many documentations of the protocols of the COVID plan," said Vincent Aguon, an Event Coordinator.
A spokesperson from the City of Tyler said the city doesn’t control the events that come to Harvey Hall, as the various expos sign contracts directly with the convention center.
The city also provided a statement pointing toward Governor Abbott's executive orders to explain why the tattoo show could happen.
“Per the most recent Governor’s Executive Order GA-32, every business establishment in Texas shall operate at no more than 75 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment," the statement said. "Harvey Convention Center is operating well below the mandated capacity limit, allowing only 600 people at a time to assure social distancing guidelines are followed."
Any entity renting Harvey Hall is required to submit a social distancing plan prior to the event. The plan must include a designated entrance and exit to the facility and each hall, designated hand sanitizing stations, a flow chart for one-way aisles and vendor tables must accommodate social distancing rules.
Additionally, every person entering the facility must wear a face mask and will be required to sign a waiver stating they are aware of the COVID-19 pandemic and will follow all guidelines posed by the Texas Governor and the City of Tyler.
CBS19 asked the governor’s office Friday morning if that executive order allows this kind of event to happen but they did not respond by the deadline.
This is only the second event at Harvey Hall since the pandemic started, the other being a coin show in September.