Exemption contention ascension: Calaway Park season opening halted under Alberta Health directive
Alberta Health confirms the exemption Calaway Park received to open in the summer of 2020 is no longer valid. (file)
CALGARY -- An amusement park, located west of Calgary, has fallen in line with a provincial order to postpone its opening day.
According to Calaway Park officials, the exemption granted in 2020 that permitted the park to open to visitors in the midst of the pandemic was never terminated by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, and was believed to still be valid.
But in a statement sent to CTV News Friday morning, Alberta Health confirmed Calaway Park was granted an exemption in June 2020 but the exemption is no longer valid.
"Under the current health restrictions in place, Calaway Park is not able to open to the public at this time," said Tom McMillan, Alberta Health spokesperson. "We are following up with them to ensure there is no confusion.
"We know that the health restrictions impact these centres and the many people who love them. The quicker we can all bend the curve and get vaccinated, the sooner that we can again enjoy parks like this."
Calaway Park had planned to open for the season on the May long weekend, as has been the norm for decades, but pushed the start back to the weekend of June 5 due to "the current situation with COVID-19 and our community effort to 'stop the spike'."
"The exemption clearly states that it is in effect until terminated by the Chief Medical Officer of Health," reads a statement posted in the planning section of Calaway Park's website. "We have received no written notification that these exemptions have been withdrawn or changed."
Park representatives say a conversation with Alberta Health in November 2020 confirmed the exemption would remain valid until the park received written notification of termination and Alberta Health made no mention of withdrawing approval during subsequent meetings.
On Friday afternoon, Calaway Park released a second statement indicating that it had been "operating with the information that we had and discussed" with Alberta Health and there was no indication the park would not be able to reopen on June 5.
"We understand that we need to remain closed at this time while our community is working to stop the spike. We want you to know that Calaway Park is ready to offer a safe, outdoor, family fun experience to your household when we can. We are waiting on guidance from Alberta Health and as soon as we have more information, we will share it with you in regards to our 2021 opening."