Rodeo competitors, workers given quarantine exemption after crossing border for Calgary Stampede

CALGARY — Rodeo competitors, support staff and workers coming to the Calgary Stampede have been granted an exemption from having to quarantine at a government-approved hotel after crossing the Canada-U.S. border.

Instead, they will undergo a modified quarantine and follow local and provincial guidelines.

Calling it “great news,” Premier Jason Kenney announced the exemption on social media Friday morning, posting a letter from Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

The exemption applies to “professional rodeo participants and select support staff and workers (participants and workers) for a one-time entry into Canada” to take part in this year’s Stampede, which runs July 9-18 in Calgary.

“This exemption is granted on the basis of my determination that the release of these individuals from the quarantine and COVID-19 testing in Canada is in the national interest, particularly based on the importance of sports for Canada’s society and economy,” wrote Mendicino.

The exemption comes after a review of protocols submitted by Stampede officials and an assessment by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on May 28.

Those protocols include:

  • Capacity to test, trace and isolate any cases of COVID-19;
  • Compliance with local and provincial health guidelines;
  • Implementation of a modified quarantine upon entry into Canada;
  • A dedicated compliance officer to monitor the modified quarantine, and;
  • Penalties for non-compliance.

Failure to comply will mean a loss of exemption for the individual, forcing them to enter the usual quarantine and testing program.

“Like Alberta itself, the Stampede has persevered through floods, fires, and much more. However, last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was impossible to have people gather safely. Now, with vaccines on our side and Albertans lining up to get protected, we can add a global pandemic to the many obstacles the Stampede has overcome,” Kenney said in a statement.

“We are also closing in on the 70 per cent threshold for Stage 3 of Alberta’s Open For Summer Plan that will end the public health restrictions. 

“If you have not booked your first dose, please sign up today so we can all have a truly great Alberta summer at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”

Alberta is currently in Phase 2 of its reopening plan, with indoor dining now allowed, along with outdoor groups up to 20 people. Festivals and events of up to 150 people are also allowed.

The province will move to Stage 3, when all health measures will be removed, two weeks after reaching 70 per cent vaccination among eligible Albertans.

The latest data from the province says 67.8 per cent of those eligible have received a first dose.

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