Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse definitely will not attend this year’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta festivities, despite the fact that he tested negative again Wednesday for COVID-19.
Mayor Pro Tem Meagan Harmon filled in for Mayor Rowse Wednesday morning during the opening Fiesta ceremony in De la Guerra Plaza.
Mayor Rowse said he took the rapid at-home test Wednesday — five days after he tested positive for COVID-19 — just to be sure that he was not sick or contagious. He tested negative on Monday as well, but left open the door that if Wednesday’s test was also negative, he might still attend Fiesta.
“I’m not going to attend out of respect for the circumstances,” he told the News-Press Wednesday. “Everything is fine. I tested negative, but I’m going to forego Fiesta.
“It’s more important to send a good message than it is for me to wear a cowboy hat in the back of a carriage,” he said. “It’s not more important than everybody’s safety.”
While it’s not the same thing as attending in person, Mayor Rowse said he’ll enjoy this year’s Fiesta from the comfort of home, joking “I’ll watch them on TV and have a margarita.”
The mayor stressed Monday that he’s asymptomatic, and that he began taking Paxlovid on advice from his doctor. Doctors prescribe the antiviral drug to reduce the risk of severe illness for people infected with Covid.