Calgary Stampede Prepares To Close Doors On Last Day Of Pandemic Era Edition

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It was a Calgary Stampede like no other, organizers surely hope it will never happen again – with concession stands, fireworks and a rodeo, but also sanitation stations, improved cleaning and COVID-19 rapid tests.

After 10 days, the COVID-19 edition of the so-called biggest outdoor spectacle on earth ends Sunday night. The global pandemic canceled the world-famous outdoor festival for the first time in a century last year.

The cancellation saw the festival lose an unprecedented $ 26.5 million in 2020 – a far cry from the roughly $ 150 million in annual revenue typically generated by the event.

Organizers said they were confident that the new safety measures adopted by the festival – such as halving daily attendance, implementing improved cleaning and introducing public sanitation stations – would essentially see the Stampede function as a model for other mass rally events scheduled this year across Canada.

One such event, coupled with the province’s lifting of almost all of its public health restrictions just over two weeks ago, has caused dismay among some infectious disease experts, who are worried about the possibility of a increase in COVID-19 cases driven by more infectious delta variant.

Organizers highlighted the early numbers for the event at a press conference on Sunday – attendance was about half of a typical Calgary Stampede, organizers reported, with about 50,000 attendees per day, most of whom were from Calgary.

In contrast, the most recent regular editions of the festival attracted 1,275,465 visitors in 2019 and 1,271,241 in 2018. The 2019 edition was the second busiest edition of the Calgary Stampede after 2012, when the Stampede celebrated its 100th anniversary. anniversary.

A visitor to Nashville North undergoes a rapid COVID-19 test at the Calgary Stampede in Calgary on July 9. (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press)

Nashville North – the popular live country music venue for over 18s – saw 60,000 visitors enter the tent, 73% of whom showed proof of vaccination.

Under the amended rules, customers had to show proof of at least one COVID-19 shot two weeks previously, or agree to have a negative rapid test result at the entrance to the pitch or at the tent door.

Organizers said fewer than 18 cases of COVID-19 were detected at the gates.

Stampede President Steve McDonough said the 2021 festival was a “wild tour” – saying the festival represented a safe return to live events that should serve as a model for Calgary and Canada. .

“Success is also about local businesses getting a much needed boost and our economy getting a boost,” McDonough said.

“No matter how you measure it, Stampede 2021 is a success.”

Smoke from forest fires affects the last day

The festival opened for free to all Calgarians on its final day, with doors opening at 10 a.m. Sunday and running until midnight.

But the offer coincided with thick, thick smoke billowing from British Columbia – smoke that led Environment Canada to emit a special statement on air quality Sunday morning. The Air Health Index was 10+, or very high risk, at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

This risk means that people with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, typically experience more serious health effects at lower pollution levels, as it can make their illnesses worse.

Smoke blanketed the Calgary Stampede pitch, as did the entire province of Alberta on Sunday, as thick forest fire smoke blew over Calgary from British Columbia. (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press)

According to the weather agency, this can lead to increased drug use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.

The Calgary Stampede said its rodeo will take place on Sunday, writing in a statement that its team of on-site vets are monitoring the animals for signs of increased breathing effort.

The World Professional Chuckwagon Association and the Century Downs Racetrack in Calgary have both said they canceled their scheduled horse races on Sunday, citing concerns about the safety of the animals and humans involved.


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