Thousands gathered at the Calgary stampede's popular "Nashville North" live music venue, Canada's first major venue to require proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test to enter.
The Calgary Stampede, a 10-day festival and rodeo that is a staple of Alberta, was able to go ahead after Jason Kenney's UCP government became the first in Canada to lift all COVID-19 restrictions.
However, Stampede organizers opted not to do the event at 100 percent capacity, opting instead to voluntarily put in place some COVID-19 protective measures.
Stampede attendance is capped at 50 percent of the ground's capacity, while staff and volunteers have to wear masks and get rapid COVID-19 tests.
Calgary Stampede vice-president Jim Laurendeau says that people have so far felt “good-natured” about the vaccine and testing requirements to enter the "Nashville North" live music venue.
"We find ourselves in this position just by virtue of the timing of our event at the end of this pandemic," Laurendeau said. "In a rare instance when someone tests positive for COVID, they would be asked by the medical professionals to leave Stampede park and return home and contact Alberta Health Services."
The Canadian Press spoke with attendees of the venue, Will Mallmes from BC said the process was easy after he showed his proof of vaccination.
"I think it's good but, honestly, I don't really care. The whole sense of normalcy, coming in and having crowds of people, is fantastic," he said. "I feel safe enough. I mean, we're all going to die of something."
However, some wish that the Stampede would have had no restrictions at all. Donna Drummond, who used to work at the stampede, said, "I just wish they would open everything up." Adding that she misses international travellers.
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