The Town of Strathmore has opted to endorse the quarantine of North American Midway Entertainment (NAME) employees on the Strathmore and District Agricultural Society grounds prior to the Calgary Stampede.
The ag society sent a delegation to town council on June 2 to request their support and approval of the idea.
Society CEO Ryan Schmidt said the town’s role in supporting the ag society will not be extensive, but is nevertheless important.
“The town is going to work on gathering information on menus and products available, and then we’ll make that information available to the midway employees so that they can access those services,” said Schmidt. “For example, there’s some restaurants in town that everybody knows like Subway or McDonalds, and I’m sure some people order from there, but we also want them to know about other, smaller local businesses that maybe they wouldn’t otherwise know.”
Mayor Pat Fule said he believes the quarantine to be a perfect opportunity to generate significant extra cashflow into the town, particularly towards the local businesses they aim to support.
“This is a time, I think, to move forward and to find a way to support the many businesses in our town who have struggled,” he said. “This is a way, I think, to almost have a step into an economic recovery while still protecting the health and safety of our residents and the people who are in the quarantine situation.”
Though NAME must still acquire approval to enter the country from the Canada Border Services Agency, Schmidt said he’s optimistic they will be allowed to enter the country.
“If (Canada Border Services Agency) grants approval, we’re ready and willing and happy to welcome the employees of North American Midway Entertainment.”
Schmidt added his optimism is backed by six letters of reference vouching for NAME and its employees as a responsible business, and as being fully cooperative with quarantine restrictions.
For residents who may be skeptical about the quarantine, Schmidt stressed that none of the NAME staff would be allowed to leave their quarantine zone, which would be under constant security, with only one access point.
“The measures in place here are very strict. If you think of the reality that there’s 20,000 people that pass through Strathmore on the highway every day, stopping at all kinds of businesses and services,” he said. “In this case, what we have is 250 people who will be brought to the (ag society) grounds and essentially locked in a field for 14 days.”
NAME employees will be required to have been tested negative for COVID-19 at the border before entering Canada, will be moved directly to the quarantine zone without being allowed to stop prior, and must submit regular COVID-19 test results through the duration of their stay in Strathmore.
An idea was expressed during the council meeting if COVID-19 vaccinations would be made available locally to NAME employees during their stay. Schmidt said he is not aware of any further details surrounding the idea, nor if it is viable.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times