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COVID-19: Calgary Stampede emphasizes physical distancing as 2021 plans ramp up

Click to play video: 'Familiar but different: Calgary Stampede reveals what 2021 celebrations may look like' Familiar but different: Calgary Stampede reveals what 2021 celebrations may look like
WATCH: With less than two months until the start of the Calgary Stampede, organizers say the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is a go, but also stress that physical distancing measures will be key. Matthew Conrod reports. – May 12, 2021

With less than two months until the Calgary Stampede, organizers revealed Wednesday how the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is going ahead with modifications as the pandemic drags on.

Read more: Calgary Stampede 2021 still in the works as other summer events cancelled

The Stampede said this year’s iteration will be familiar but different — more space, fewer people.

“Normally, when you come to Stampede Park, lots of crowds, lots of lineups, and we know this year we can’t have that,” said Kristina Barnes, Stampede communications manager.

However, “there will be that comfort that we have each year that we celebrate the spirit of our community,” she added.

Crowds on the midway grounds at the Calgary Stampede on July 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougal

The plan is to spread things out because physical distancing is important, Barnes explained.

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“We have the advantage of more than 200 acres here at Stampede Park, so having things placed differently, spread out differently,” she said.

“Again, all of this is very much in flux as we continue to work. Potential for a timed entry at the gate or pre-purchased entry at the gate.”

Click to play video: 'Concern, anger over Calgary Stampede plans to go ahead' Concern, anger over Calgary Stampede plans to go ahead
Concern, anger over Calgary Stampede plans to go ahead – May 13, 2021

Read more: Alberta doctors say COVID-19 numbers bring ‘cautious optimism’ amid rising ICU admissions

Stampede is working with health officials to follow guidelines, noting that the plan has the flexibility to adapt, Barnes said.

A server delivers food to a vehicle during a drive-thru food truck rally as people try to enjoy the Calgary Stampede even though it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday, July 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Safety has to be first, she said.

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“We certainly celebrate and congratulate those who are stepping forward to get their vaccinations to ensure the safety of our community,” she said.

“I think that’s something we would really encourage, is that people think of community and step forward to do that.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary Stampede and Folk Fest yet to announce 2021 event plans' Calgary Stampede and Folk Fest yet to announce 2021 event plans
Calgary Stampede and Folk Fest yet to announce 2021 event plans – Apr 12, 2021

COVID-19 numbers, restrictions

As of Monday, every Albertan 12 and up can book a vaccine, and as of Tuesday, 1,975,341 had been administered.

Alberta Health reported 1,799 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday. The province said 737 people are hospitalized, with 169 of them in intensive care.

Read more: Hospitalizations jump as Alberta records 1,799 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

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On May 4, Premier Jason Kenney announced new COVID-19 restrictions.

High case area restrictions (regions with at least 50 cases per 100,000 people, and at least 30 active cases):

  • Outdoor gatherings limited to five people
  • Outdoor fitness, recreation and performance activities are prohibited, except with household members or two close contacts if you live alone
  • Funeral services limited to 10 people
  • Places of worship limited to 15 people
  • Personal and wellness services must close
  • Customer capacity in stores limited to 10 per cent of fire code occupancy or five customers, whichever is greater
  • Any workplace with transmission of three or more cases must close for 10 days (work camps, essential and critical services are exempt)

Communities with lower active cases must follow provincewide restrictions:

  • Restaurants, pubs and cafés open for takeout and delivery only
  • Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools shift to online learning until May 25
  • All post-secondary learning shift to online learning
  • All indoor fitness facilities must close
  • Indoor sport, recreation and performance activity is prohibited

Other restrictions remaining in place:

  • No indoor gatherings
  • Health, social and professional services open by appointment only
  • Working from home is mandatory unless the employer requires the employee’s physical presence to operate effectively
  • Masks are required indoors in all worksites unless they are at a work station that is distanced from others

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