Edmonton event venues taking precautions amid coronavirus concerns

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WATCH ABOVE: Sarah Ryan takes a look at how organizers behind large events are adjusting plans amid coronavirus concerns. – Mar 9, 2020

One of the concerns surrounding the potential spread of the coronavirus is what happens when there are large gatherings with lots of people.

Here’s how some Edmonton event venues are responding to ongoing concerns about COVID-19.

Rogers Place

In a statement, Oilers Entertainment Group’s senior vice-president of corporate communications Tim Shipton said “events scheduled at Rogers Place and ICE District are going ahead as planned and the venues remain fully open.”

“Across all our venues, we have heightened our already stringent handwashing and cleaning protocols with staff and contractors.”

However, on Wednesday, Rogers Sports & Media cancelled all remaining Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour stops this season, including the one scheduled for Edmonton on March 28 and 29. The game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers is still set to take place on March 29.

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Fans are asked to stay home if they are feeling ill, be it for sporting events or concerts.

“Rogers Place undergoes a rigorous cleaning procedure after each and every event, with particular attention paid to high-traffic, high public contact areas,” Shipton added.

“Many areas will receive additional, enhanced measures throughout the course of events for the foreseeable future.”

READ MORE: 7 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta: health officials

Media access to the Oilers locker-room has also been revoked and news conferences are being held in the Oilers Hall of Fame.

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Edmonton Oilers taking precautions amid coronavirus concerns – Mar 9, 2020

On Monday, the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings announced steps the team was taking to be proactive.

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“In light of the recent spread of the COVID-19 virus, Oilers Entertainment Group has made the decision to implement changes to Oil Kings team interactions and in-game experiences in an effort to best protect the health of our players, staff and fans,” the team said in a news release.

“After careful deliberation, the in-game concourse carnival and post-game team autograph session on Family Fun Sunday, March 15 vs. the Lethbridge Hurricanes, as well as first intermission player autographs on Saturday, March 21 vs. the Red Deer Rebels, will be cancelled.

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“The Chuck-A-Puck will also not be sold during the final two games of the regular season and duration of the playoffs.”

The Oil Kings said, however, that “the existing protocol will remain in place” when it comes to how media interact with the team.

Edmonton Expo Centre/Edmonton Convention Centre

As of March 9, two small private events in Edmonton had been cancelled — along with one industry conference — due to coronavirus concerns. All other events are moving ahead as scheduled.

This weekend, that includes the Edmonton Boat and Sportsmen’s Show at the Edmonton Expo Centre. While it is going ahead, event organizers are closely monitoring updates from Alberta Health.

In a statement, Edmonton Economic Development’s director of marketing and communications, Lauren Andrews, wrote that “additional hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout our venues.”

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“Cleaning and housekeeping staff have been directed to focus on more commonly touched areas (doorhandles, railings, washrooms, parking pay stations, pay machines, elevator buttons etc.).”

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What steps is Edmonton taking amid COVID-19 outbreak? – Mar 10, 2020

READ MORE: Edmonton doctors group raises concern about Alberta’s coronavirus preparedness

Citadel Theatre

The Citadel Theatre said it doesn’t believe there is cause for alarm at this time, but it is monitoring the situation.

“Ultimately, we would hope that our staff and patrons behave in a prudent fashion, taking care of their own health and that of others through healthy hygiene practices and staying home if they are ill, regardless of the cause, to ensure the healthiest environment for all,” wrote Chantell Ghosh, the theatre’s executive director.

On March 12, the theatre issued another statement saying additional precautionary measures have been taken including:

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    • Increased sanitization on all public spaces
    • Suspended our policy on returning Citadel reusable cups
    • Provided protective gloves for use by staff and volunteers in high-contact roles

“These precautions are our responsibility in limiting any potential for transmission in our building. But it is imperative that you, our patrons, do your part as well,” the statement read. “If you feel unwell or display any symptoms of the virus (cough, fever, shortness of breath), please do not attend your scheduled performance.”

The theatre has also extended the exchange polity to allow free exchanges on tickets to all Citadel performances between March 12 and 17 in case someone is not feeling well and would like to attend a show another night.

“We are remaining flexible and proactive in our procedures as we learn more about Alberta and Canada health authority’s recommendations, so please stay tuned for further updates on changes/extensions to this procedure.”

Catholic churches

The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton is responsible for 109 churches across the city. It is encouraging parishioners to practice good hygiene and stay home if they are feeling unwell.

In 2009, when H1N1 was spreading across Canada, the archdiocese was contacted by Alberta Health and directed to remove the consecrated wine from communion, eliminate holy water in fonts for making the sign of the cross and skip the practice of shaking hands mid-mass.

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So far, while the archdiocese is monitoring the situation, no changes have been made to traditional masses in response to the coronavirus.

River Cree Resort

The event venue, casino and hotel west of Edmonton said staff are going above and beyond when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing surfaces including slot machine buttons and doors handles.

The River Cree is also putting out additional hand sanitizer and following the guidelines recommended by Alberta Health.

Winspear Centre

The Winspear Centre said it has enhanced daily disinfection of all areas of the downtown Edmonton venue, with extra focus on surfaces like door handles and elevator keypads.

All hard surfaces that are prone to human touch are thoroughly wiped down before the during concerts with disinfectant multi-purpose cleaner, read a statement from the Winspear Centre.

Additional hand sanitizer dispensers have also been added in many locations throughout the venue.

As of Thursday, March 12, the Winspear Centre said all concerts will continue as scheduled. However, those who have a ticket to an upcoming event who do not want to attend may exchange their ticket prior to event and pay no exchange fee.

People also have the option to donate their ticket back to the Winspear Centre or receive a full refund for the face value of the ticket.

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More information can be found on the Winspear Centre’s website.

Watch below: Some Global News videos about coronavirus concerns.

–With files from Global News’ Phil Heidenreich