COVID-19 concerns ramp up worldwide, leading to cancellations in Calgary
The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 is leading to events in Calgary being cancelled, leading to questions about whether some of the city's larger festivals, such as Comic Expo and the Calgary Stampede, might be cancelled as well.
CALGARY -- The worldwide COVID-19 outbreak is leading to events in Calgary being scrapped for safety reasons.
"Due to the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 in countries or areas where the University of Calgary has suspended travel, we have cancelled two international speed skating events including pre-competition training at the Olympic Oval in March: the Long Track Grand Prix (March 14-15) and the Long Track Finale (March19-22)," said a statement from the Olympic Oval at the University of Calgary.
"For Canadian athletes to compete, they and their coaches/support staff should be free from any illness (or) symptoms for a minimum of 14 days and have not travelled through countries on the UCalgary restricted travel list, which currently includes: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Singapore."
The City of Calgary on Monday cancelled this week’s Safety Expo at City Hall, an educational program for more than 4,000 students every year that allows them to interact and learn from emergency services personnel.
Meanwhile, Enbridge announced Tuesday that it was moving its May 5 annual general meeting online, rather than meeting in Toronto, in order to "mitigate risks to the health and safety" of its worker shareholders and other stakeholders, according to a published report.
Calgary Sports and Entertainment issued a statement Tuesday, announcing that it has "enhanced sanitizing measures at the Scotiabank Saddledome which include additional hand sanitizing stations, sanitizing equipment and cleaning staff."
CSEC also said they're increasing cleaning frequency throughout the Saddledome "in all heavy traffic public areas such as washrooms, lobbies and elevators."
Mayor Naheed Nenshi was asked Tuesday about future events taking place this year, and what their future looks like, including the Calgary Stampede.
"(When) we think about big summertime festivals, one of the (main) criteria (about whether to cancel or not) is (that) indoor things are much more dangerous than outdoor things," he said.
"I sit on the Stampede board and I’m sure that the board is thinking through all of its options right now," he added. "But that decision doesn’t have to be made for a long while yet."
The Calgary Stampede said the grounds are still open to the public, telling CTV News in a statement it is "still monitoring the situation but operating business as usual."
"We have increased the number of hand sanitizers available in all of our venues, and also increased sanitizing and disinfecting efforts in high-touch areas."
"Visitors to Stampede Park can also expect to see enhanced onsite communications and signage in restrooms regarding preventative actions such as hand washing."
Calgary Expo organizers are also planning to move forward with their event, which starts April 23.
"We’re looking forward to welcoming fans and guests at Calgary Expo in April," said spokesperson Alex Kingcott.
"Our number one priority is always the safety and experience of our fans, guests and staff. We’re closely following official advice and guidance from the government and local authorities."
Several concerts are planned at the Scotiabank Saddledome in the coming months. James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt are scheduled to perform April 19, Rage Against the Machine on May 5 and country music artists Maren Morris and Blake Shelton are expected in July during Stampede.
There has been no word on what the future of those concerts could be following this outbreak.
Fourteen people have contracted the virus in Alberta, including two of the most recent being a Calgary man in his 30s and a Calgary woman in her 50s.
Alberta's chief medical officer Deena Hinshaw announced the newest numbers Tuesday afternoon, doubling the number of confirmed cases from seven to 14.
"Some people had been out doing daily tasks," she said. "Others had been home and not really seen anyone since they felt ill."
They are in isolation and expected to recover. More than 1,000 tests have been done in Alberta.