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Calgary extends coronavirus public event ban to August 31

The City of Calgary has officially extended its ban on public events an additional two months, now moving it to August 31.

Initially, the city had pegged the date to June 30 and that left a sliver of light for the Calgary Stampede and the Calgary Folk Music Festival to still go ahead.  Both were cancelled Thursday.

This means that 166 events scheduled for the summer are now officially cancelled.

“There are sometimes tough parts of my job and that’s around making really difficult decisions that I know will disappoint a lot of people,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

This ban does include all city-run summer camps.

Further, it casts doubt on the Calgary Stampeders upcoming CFL season.

“Professional sports, even training camps do not, at this time, have an exemption,” said Mayor Nenshi.

“I think it’s fair for us to say, I don’t see a world where you’re having a game in a packed McMahon Stadium this summer.”

The city said their direction coincides with that of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. According to provincial information the summer event restrictions “will continue to apply until evidence demonstrates that the spread is controlled.”

Upon follow up, the province confirmed there’s no specific date, but that it was indefinite.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely and hope to be able to share more information soon on Alberta’s plan for when and how some public health measures could be safely relaxed in the future,” wrote Alberta Health assistant director of communication, Tom McMillan.

Enforcement and 311 calls

Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Sampson said while they’ve been keeping an eye on citizens, they’ve had to respond to businesses as well.

Business licensing has had more than 500 complaints via 311, Sampson said, in relation to COVID-19. There have been 134 written warnings to non-essential business. One business had their license suspended.

Two more tickets for $1,000 each were doled out for failure to comply with provincial health regulation.  Another ticket was issued for a fake/altered business license to someone selling hand sanitizer out the back of their vehicle in a parking lot.

“We need to remind folks that you can’t buy your hand sanitizer there. And if you have bought your hand sanitizer there, I encourage you to throw it out,” Sampson said.

To deal with issues on Crescent Road, Sampson said there would be a pilot road closure in the area.  In other areas where crowding is an issue, they will have parking restrictions to reduce volume, he said.