SANTA BARBARA, Calif. La Presidenta Stephanie Petlow is the figurehead of Old Spanish Days 2021 and has been at the center of some last minute decisions due to COVID-19 and the more contagious Delta variant causing cases and hospitalizations to rise nationwide.
She talked about changing plans right after Tuesday's Fiesta news conference at the Old Mission Santa Barbara.
"At 11:30 we really didn't know what was going to happen, we were still waiting for some guidelines from county health, received a little bit more information from them, and we just decided that we in all good faith and sense could not put our community at risk, our families at risk for having such a large gathering for the Fiesta Pequeña show and also the Noches de Ronda show," said Petlow.
La Presidenta said the public health department always said you need to social distance and be six feet away from others and not be close for more than 15 minute.
"We know our shows last longer than 15 minutes," she said.
La Fiesta Pequeña at the Mission and Las Noches de Ronda last well over an hour.
Organizers of Old Spanish Days pulled the plug on audiences on the eve of Fiesta.
Petlaw said she has been vaccinated and tested negative on Wednesday before the live streaming of Fiesta Pequeña.
She also said she wished people could see what it is like to be on a ventilator so that they would understand how important it is to get vaccinated.
Petlaw said she has never had COVID-19 but she knows people who have gotten very sick.
She does not know how several dancers got COVID.
A couple of sources said at least three dancers are home quarantining following positive tests.
Their dance group pulled out of the show, but others dancers from the group who are not sick have chosen to dancer under another name.
Young dancers entertained diners at El Paseo on Wednesday afternoon before heading to the Mission.
Performers plans to do pop-up shows throughout the week.
Petlow said she does not know of illnesses linked to La Recepción Del President on Sunday at the Carriage and Western Art Museum or a private realtors event last Wednesday that she attended.
She advices everyone to wear masks if they choose to see dancing going on in indoor and outdoor settings.
We will have more on this story tonight on the news.