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Alberta expands gatherings for outdoor audience events to 200 people


EDMONTON — Alberta is expanding the number of people who can meet up for audience-type outdoor events.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, says up to 200 people may now congregate for festivals, fireworks displays, rodeos and sporting events and other outdoor performances.

The news comes in time for Canada Day fireworks events on Wednesday, but Hinshaw said the national holiday was not the driving factor in the decision.

"We committed to looking at our numbers, looking at our epidemiology (every two weeks) and then coming back with any changes that we felt would be appropriate," Hinshaw said Tuesday.

"What we've seen is the vast majority of transmission that has been occurring has been happening within social settings, especially within social gatherings or sometimes work gatherings where people are close together, most often indoors where they're not two metres apart (and) not wearing a mask.

"We have not seen significant transmission within outdoor, more structured, or seated-type events."

For more-personalized outdoor social gatherings, like weddings and funerals, the limit remains at 100 people.

For those hosting social gatherings indoors, the maximum is 50 people.

There is no cap on the number of people for worship services or those in restaurants, cafes, casinos or bingo halls, as long as hygiene and social distancing measures are in place.

Alberta said it continues to flatten the curve on COVID-19, with 547 active cases and 41 people in hospital, nine of whom are in intensive care.

There have been 154 deaths linked to the illness in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2020

The Canadian Press