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Calgary Stampede would have hand forced should public event ban be extended: Mayor Nenshi

Case data in Calgary is being carefully examined to see if Calgary’s coronavirus ban on public events needs to be expanded past June 30.

If so, it would likely mean cancellation of this year’s Calgary Stampede.

The Calgary Stampede is scheduled for July 3 to 12, so it does fall outside the city’s current moratorium on public events.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said in a Wednesday coronavirus briefing that they’re in regular dialogue with the Calgary Stampede board (of which he is a member) and they’re asking many of the same questions as the public.

“Ultimately, if Tom (Sampson, CEMA Chief) and his team say, ‘you know what, we cannot have large gatherings through a further time period than June 30,’ then that forces their hand. I don’t want to be that blunt about it, because it’s actually a great relationship,” said Mayor Nenshi.

In Wednesday’s provincial coronavirus briefing, Premier Jason Kenney said that he wouldn’t “improvise direction” on the Calgary Stampede.

“What I can tell you is that we are not in a position to relax the public health orders, including the limitation on crowds or the social distancing rules that we have put in place for the time being,” Premier Kenney said.

“I do commit to the Stampede and to other major summer events organizers that we’ll seek to give them some direction in the very near future.”

The mayor said they would have more answers on the future of Calgary Stampede 2020 in the next week or so.

Last week, there was a story about the Wimbledon tennis tournament’s pandemic insurance returning $140 million to the tournament due to cancellation.

When asked about a similar insurance policy, the Calgary Stampede said it was a private matter and wouldn’t release those details.

Physical, mental and economic health

Mayor Nenshi talked about three areas that Calgarians need to take care of: their physical health, mental health and economic health.

Under economic health category, the mayor touted a #supportlocalYYC effort.   

Along with resources and tools that businesses can share, the mayor encouraged citizens to make choices that had them shop at their neighbourhood small businesses.

He suggested buying from businesses online or purchasing gift cards to use later; ordering takeout and deliveries from local restaurants. In doing so, he said call and ask them how they would like you to pick up or have it delivered. Some companies doing it are charging substantial amounts and that cash doesn’t go to them.

The mayor also encouraged people to leave positive reviews on social media of businesses you like. Spread the word about those businesses.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit businesses in Calgary hard, and we know many were already challenged from a tough economy,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.