North American Midway Entertainment (NAME), the company responsible for the midway at the Calgary Stampede, says it is bringing fewer rides to this year’s festival and plans to quarantine staff.
“We’re going to be down about 15 per cent of our regular midway presentation, which is going to work out to be 10 or 11 rides. We’re going to bring all of our most spectacular and popular rides,” said NAME client relations vice president Scooter Korek.
Ride enthusiasts will be happy to know the Zipper will be on the midway, according to the ride operator.
While NAME is forging ahead with planning, all layouts and designs are dependent on public health restrictions come July.
As for midway staff, Korek says about 250 people will hopefully cross the border into Canada on temporary work visas. One-third of midway workers are Canadian.
“We’ve been applying for work visas through the Canadian government. Looks like we’re going to be able to get our work visas. We don’t have it 100 per cent in hand, but every indication is that we’re going to get that,” Korek said.
Those who cross the border will head straight to a 14-day quarantine.
“We’re going to cross mid-June probably between the 12th to 16th. We’ve made arrangements at the Strathmore Agricultural Society. We’re creating a bubble and we’re going to stay in Strathmore for 14 days,” Korek added.
The current plan is to begin set-up of the midway June 28-29.
However, Alberta Health says it’s too early to talk about what specific protocols might be in place by then.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Alberta Health said that, “no formal approval or exemption has been granted at this point for any safety protocols or plans.”
“Alberta Health officials are in contact with the organizers to help them adjust their plans to the scope of what is likely to be permitted in July.”
The provincial government has said it will announce a plan to ease restrictions as more people are vaccinated and the daily COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations decline.