As of today, the Calgary Stampede will go ahead as scheduled, as concern over the coronavirus grows internationally.
The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, Calgary’s 10-day summer celebration, is set to go ahead from July 3 to 12.
Calgary Stampede officials weren’t able to provide specifics about their response, “as it wouldn’t be appropriate to speculate on what the situation may be like in the weeks and the months to come,” said Kristina Barnes, Manager, Communication and Media Relations.
Barnes said they are in regular contact with Alberta Health Services, the Calgary Emergency Management Agency and Health Canada and will respond should the situation change.
“As Health Canada continues to classify the risk as low, we are moving ahead with plans as usual at this time,” Barnes said.
The Calgary Stampede attracts more than a million visitors annually, many of whom are from worldwide places of origin.
Visitors’ country of origin considered in mass gathering advice: Dr. Hinshaw
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, addressed questions around the cancellation of mass gatherings across the province.
Dr. Hinshaw said their advice to event organizers isn’t necessarily related to the number of cases in the province at any given time. She said it has more to do with the people who are attending the events and where they’re coming from.
“Seeing the spread across the globe and around the world if there was an event where we were concerned that people who were coming, might be coming from countries where there is spread, then we would be very concerned with that, even if we didn’t have any cases,” Hinshaw said.
“Event organizers are free to cancel at any time – with respect to public health advice.”
Hinshaw said the mass gathering question is one that’s being asked regularly.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation and so we’re making decisions based on current evidence as well as collaborating with colleagues across the country, to ensure that as a country we’re being consistent and using best evidence to guide our actions,” she said.
Calgary Flames also upping health safety measures
The Calgary Flames have also taken steps to ensure the health and safety of fans and employees.
We inquired with the Flames about a discontinuing of post-practice autographs or photos. Further, we asked about public signatures and photo ops with players in public.
According to Peter Hanlon, VP of Communications with the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, they’ve consulted with the players, the team’s head physician and Alberta Health Services.
“With this information, we have discontinued/postponed our pro-active an interactive fan experiences involving players,” Hanlon wrote in an email response.
“Players will always remain respectful to fan requests for autographs when in public, keeping in mind these precautionary measures.”
The Calgary Flames are also taking steps to protect fans and employees at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“We want to assure our guests and employees that we have implemented a number of precautionary and preventive measures so that fans can feel safe while attending events at the Scotiabank Saddledome. We are communicating with officials from Alberta Health Services on a frequent basis as part of our ongoing monitoring of the situation,” read a message posted to the Calgary Flames website from Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation President & CEO John Bean.
Additional hand sanitizing stations, sanitizing equipment and cleaning staff have been added, the team said. Further, they have increased the cleaning frequency in high traffic areas such as washrooms, lobbies and elevators.