Canada grants travel exemption to international rodeo competitors for Calgary Stampede

Jun 11 2021, 2:37 pm

The Canadian government has given a travel exemption to rodeo performers and staff coming to the 2021 Calgary Stampede from the United States.

Typically, international travellers coming into Canada must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test when entering the country. Air travellers must also stay at an isolation hotel for three days and then finish the 14-day quarantine at their destination.

On Friday, the Calgary Stampede announced that the federal government approved a modified quarantine and testing plan designed to allow rodeo participants to safely enter the country for the Stampede Rodeo.

“This decision acknowledges the importance of our iconic and world-renowned rodeo as part of our annual celebration, and we look forward to once again hosting the very best in the world in this sport,” said Dana Peers, Interim CEO of the Calgary Stampede.

In March, Alberta Health Services (AHS) reviewed the Stampede’s proposal to bring rodeo athletes into Canada from the US. According to the Calgary Stampede, AHS’s support of this plan was then conveyed to the federal government in conjunction with Alberta’s Minister of Health.

A supporting letter was also provided by Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and City Council.

“The Calgary Stampede is a celebration of our province, our history and our culture,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in a statement on Friday. “For over a century, it has grown to welcome millions of visitors, helping to make it the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”

“Nothing represents the Stampede more than the bulls and broncs of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo.”

The exemption, which means that the Stampede’s international rodeo competitors can avoid standard COVID-19 testing and won’t have to isolate at a hotel when entering the country, was granted by Marco Mendicino, the federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

A letter signed by Minister Mendicino stated that exemption applies to professional rodeo participants and select support staff and workers and does not allow anyone with COVID-19 or any signs and symptoms of the virus to enter the country.

The letter outlined that the exemption has been granted upon determining that “the release of these individuals from quarantine and COVID-19 testing in Canada is in the national interest of the country.” This is based particularly on the importance of sports, including the rodeo, for Canada’s society and economy.

The exemption requires the Calgary Stampede and rodeo participants to abide by a “robust risk mitigation plan” for COVID-19 testing and tracing, a modified quarantine, and to have measures in place to ensure physical distancing where possible, among other requirements.

“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,” said Premier Kenney.

“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,” Premier Kenney continued, adding, “Yahoo!”

The Stampede said that it would continue to work closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada to implement requirements to support all rodeo competitors and personnel leading up to and throughout the 10-day competition.

The annual event is scheduled to take place from July 9 to 18 this year. More information and tickets for the 2021 Stampede Rodeo are available on the Calgary Stampede’s website.

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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