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Health restrictions on large gatherings anticipated to continue until COVID-19 vaccine is found

Calgarians will be itching to get back on to a patio if COVID-19 restrictions are eased, but is the province's target date for reopening premature? Sunday, May 26th, 2019. (PHOTO: Tom Ross - 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is forecasted to last many months with health officials being cautious about when to start easing health restrictions.

“If we release our hold on restrictions too soon that could undo all the work and all of the sacrifices we have collectively made to get to this point,” Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Monday.

Back on April 3, the City of Calgary’s Emergency Management Agency announced it was cancelling all public events until June 30, which included the Mother’s Day Run, the Sled Island Music Festival, and the Calgary International Beer Festival

Some organizations are taking extra steps and cancelling their events scheduled months ahead, such as the Edmonton Fringe Festival.

“We will fringe again, and we look forward to celebrating the 40th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival August 12 – 22, 2021,” a statement reads on the festival’s website.

Hinshaw said these types of events are risky, calling them “super spreader events” where one person could end up transmitting the virus to 20 or 30 people.

“Until we have a vaccine, or some other means of ensuring widespread immunity, some of these gatherings are going to be the riskiest kinds of activates to engage in, especially gatherings that bring together people from all over the country or all over the world,” Hinshaw said.

Residents in Calgary are waiting to hear whether the Calgary Stampede will be cancelled as officials with the organization continue to consider all their options.

Health officials are currently focusing on how to reduce restrictions for smaller activates and workplaces.

“Those are the kinds of things we are looking at. How can we ease off on some of those things at the appropriate time so that we can have a little more of a normal return to our day-to-day, while some of the other pieces will probably be with us for a lot longer,” Hinshaw said.