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'We can pull this off safely': Reduced midway, capacity limits added to Stampede amid COVID-19 concerns

Last Updated Jun 14, 2021 at 8:02 pm MDT

CALGARY – Stampede organizers are reiterating that Calgarians attending this year’s exhibition can do so safely amid COVID-19 concerns.

The Calgary Stampede held a Q&A Monday morning to ask some of the city’s biggest questions when it comes to pandemic safety at the show.

WATCH: Stampede organizers answer questions about hosting the show during COVID-19

“Stampede 2021 will look different from those of the past and will reflect concerns about safety that are we are all still coming to terms with,” said President and Chairman of the Board Steve McDonough.

Officials said Stampede will be different, but it won’t be unsafe.

“I understand that many people have concerns about the safety of the stampede and a certain know where they’re coming from many of my friends many of my medical colleagues have approached me and asked me what’s happening. And I will reiterate that, you know, we can pull this off safely and responsibly and with, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” said Dr. Jia Hu.

Show officials say enhanced safety measures will be added to 2021’s Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

“We’re committed to meeting and exceeding Alberta Health guidelines and appreciate the recognition by all three orders of government for their help and support at work through this,” said Dana Peers, Interim CEO.

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There is a quarantine and testing plan in place for international competitors coming to Calgary for the rodeo after the feds gave a travel exemption allowing them to cross the border last week.

There will be capacity limits and digital queues to reduce the number of people standing in lines. Officials said that they expect to see about half of the normal daily attendance for Stampede.

Front line employees and volunteers will be covered by a mask mandate. Visitors won’t be expected to wear a mask but face coverings will be encouraged.

There will be a custodial team keeping up with enhanced sanitation on the grounds.

The idea of a vaccination site on the Stampede grounds is still being explored.

Other safety measures are still up in the air with some decisions likely coming closer to the actual show start next month.

“Everything has been very much in flux and we continue to evolve. We will continue to evolve till the last day,” said Peers.

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Peers said tickets will be limited each day to control how many people are at the grounds at any given time.

The midway will still operate this year, but there will be fewer rides than in years past.

The Stampede announced in May that the chuckwagon races had been cancelled and the Grandstand Show had been “reimagined” for the COVID-19 era.

Among other changes, the iconic parade will be a virtual event this year.

For more information on Stampede and COVID-19, visit our Stampede page.