Riverside County's (California) public health officer signed an order Friday to postpone Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals scheduled this April.
The order issued by Dr. Cameron Kaiser said the music festivals are "gatherings of an international scope, attracting hundreds of thousands of attendees from many counties, including several disproportionately afflicted by the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic."
Kaiser issued the order to "reduce the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19, thereby slowing the spread of COVID-19 in communities worldwide."
Last year, the two festivals were postponed until October after the pandemic struck, only to be canceled outright for the year as conditions worsened in California.
Under California's current color-coded reopening tier system, large-scale gatherings like concerts and conventions are prohibited. The state's previous guidance indicated that these large events may need widespread treatments or a vaccine in order to resume.
California's vaccination efforts have recently picked up after a slow start, with Gov. Gavin Newsom saying more than 3 million vaccines have been administered.
But in addition to cases, part of the problem for these events could be the contract tracing needed for a potential outbreak, according to Kaiser's order.
"If COVID-19 were detected at these festivals, the scope and number of attendees and the nature of the venue would make it infeasible, if not impossible, to track those who may be placed at risk," the order said.
It wasn't immediately clear if this year's festivals would be rescheduled for later in 2021.
As of Friday, California had reported a total of 3,205,947 positive COVID-19 cases and 39,578 deaths from the virus. In Riverside County, 266,849 coronavirus cases and 2,970 deaths have been reported.
This article was written by Mark Saunders forKGTV.