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Remembrance Day services scaled down in Regina due to COVID-19

The only Remembrance Day service in Regina on Nov. 11 will take place at the cenotaph in Victoria Park. Stewart Manhas / Global News

Traditional Remembrance Day services in Regina will look very different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The popular indoor ceremony at the Brandt Centre won’t be taking place as usual. Instead, the annual outdoor service at the Victoria Park cenotaph will be the sole event on Nov. 11.

Ron Hitchcock, the president and CEO of Regina’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch 001, said a barricade will be in place around the perimeter of the cenotaph to limit crowd size.

“Only the people that are participating in the ceremony will be allowed inside,” Hitchcock said, adding there will likely be around 30 people who are also wearing masks.

Read more: Coronavirus: No Remembrance Day ceremony in Saskatoon, replaced by drive-by tribute

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The legion president said the service will still include a color party and sentries, with a Padre conducting the remembrance service.

“We will have a bagpipe player and a trumpet player—a traditional cenotaph ceremony that the Royal Canadian Legion presents,” he said.

Hitchcock noted that while the legion is allowed a maximum of 125 people in the park, the organization is urging people to stay home and watch the service online.

“Supporting our veterans can be done in the comforts of your home and it’s something new that we’re trying,” Hitchcock said.

Read more: The Saskatoon Second World War veteran with a connection to Snowbirds

The legion will be livestreaming the event on its website, while Access Communications will also broadcast the service on its platforms starting around 10:45 a.m.

“And at precisely 11 a.m., even if you’re at home, stop for two minutes and think about the choices you are making that day,” Hitchcock said.

“They come as the result of someone who has sacrificed their freedom and their life so that you can do that. That’s what remembrance is, remembering those who are willing to die on your behalf so that you can have choices.”

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Other COVID-19 precautions include no veteran’s parade or parade of military personnel and RCMP from Regina and area. Cadet organizations will also not be taking part in-person.

Read more: Canadian soldier buried in Netherlands during WWII identified after 75 years

Wreaths will be placed at the cenotaph ahead of the actual ceremony, and there will be no official wreath-laying during the service.

The legion is currently taking orders for wreaths and crosses on its website.

“We will read the names of all those who have donated or purchased a wreath,” Hitchcock said.

He added that the legion’s poppy campaign is still underway as usual, and people can also donate directly to the organization online for a tax refund.

Click to play video: 'Remembrance Day and COVID-19' Remembrance Day and COVID-19
Remembrance Day and COVID-19 – Oct 23, 2020

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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