Calgary – COVID-19 has claimed the 2020 Calgary Stampede. The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth was cancelled on Friday by Stampede officials. “This is an extremely difficult announcement to share, but it is the right thing to do,” says Dana Peers, Calgary Stampede President & Chairman of Board. ”As a community celebration, the cancellation of our annual event comes with our community and public health and safety front of mind.”
A huge flood a few years ago didn’t knock off the Stampede. The COVID-19 virus has the ability to harm a large number of people. Taking the responsible approach to cancel this year’s event, means taking public safety first.
Confirmed recovered cases now number 1,471, and 216 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported, bringing the total number to 4,233. One more Albertan has died.
In a statement, the Stampede says, “On account of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Alberta has banned all gatherings of more than 15 people for an indefinite period of time and the City of Calgary has declared a state of local emergency. These steps, as well as our continuing concern for the health and well-being of our community, means we are unable to host the 2020 edition of the Calgary Stampede.”
Cases identified in Alberta:
2,964 cases in the Calgary zone
475 cases in the Edmonton zone
510 cases in the South zone
173 cases in the North zone
83 cases in the Central zone
28 cases in zones yet to be confirmed
“This is hard, but we need to make these types of decisions right now in order to stay safe and move forward,” says Tom Sampson, Chief, Calgary Emergency Management Agency. “It’s not what anyone wants to see happen but it’s pretty much mandatory at this time, and we applaud the Stampede for putting the safety of all Calgarians and their guests first.”
The Calgary Stampede has been around for 108 years, through two World Wars, the Great Depression and a devastating flood. But the loss of this year’s Stampede is bigger than our not-for-profit organization. Many local businesses are part of the greater Stampede, from the restaurants, bars and hotels, to the retailers, rideshare and taxi drivers who support western culture throughout our city. We know the financial impact this will have on them.
“The Stampede is a critical part of who we are as Calgarians. It’s almost impossible to imagine a summer without it. But these are extraordinary times, and the Stampede has done what they always do: put the community first,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “For me, riding a horse at the front of the parade is a moment, even with all the people and all the noise, for some introspection on who we are as a community. I’m sad to not be at my tenth parade this year. But we’ll dust ourselves off and come back even better. Together.”
With the best interests of the community in mind, the organization’s focus will now shift to fall, winter and spring events at Stampede Park as well as planning for the 2021 Stampede. When it’s appropriate, we will gather together to celebrate. We are also looking for new ways to bring western hospitality to the community as we collectively navigate through this difficult time.
“I promise you this does not mean the end of Stampede Spirit in our community this year,” says Peers, adding, “We know our community is strong and resilient. We’ll get through this together. Keep your hats on.”
For further information please visit CalgaryStampede.com