Cold Lake and Bonnyville have kiboshed plans for their annual Santa Claus parades in the wake of premier Jason Kenney’s announcement of stricter COVID-19 restrictions Monday night.
Cold Lake’s announcement came through the City’s social media page on Facebook on Wednesday, along with the Town of Bonnyville’s.
The restrictions put a cap on outdoor social gatherings at 10.
The parade is an annual tradition enjoyed by many in the community, and “while this news is disappointing, the decision was made with the health and safety of the people of Cold Lake and all Albertans, top of mind,” the release said.
“It’s unfortunate for me and the city staff. We’re all very big fans of the parade and the Christmas celebrations,” said Mayor Craig Copeland.
“Nonetheless we’re better off to cancel it. God forbid if someone were to become infected with COVID, tracing the spread would be very difficult.”
The event was scheduled for Friday, November 27th and was first announced to be going on as planned with a longer route to allow for 6 feet of social distancing for attendees before later being adapted into a “reverse parade”.
“Ultimately it came down to our CAO [Kevin Nagoya] telling us flat out it couldn’t happen with these restrictions in place,” said Copeland.
In the premier’s announcement, it was outlined that masks would be mandatory in the Edmonton and Calgary zones, which have seen the province’s highest concentration of cases. Masks have been a frequent topic of discussion for Cold Lake council.
Copeland says he’s certain the issue will come up soon in light of the recent spike in cases, though he was reserved in their potential effectiveness in regards to Cold Lake’s situation.
“What’s interesting about masks is when they’re brought up they’re only talked about being worn when you can’t break two metres,” said Copeland. “It’s not inside the home, which is where the big focus is now — people are contaminating one another at home.
“Right now that’s what we’re seeing in Cold Lake.”
Copeland went on to say that in recent days he’d seen more residents wearing masks in public regardless of an official bylaw, and that he hopes stricter restrictions will lead to a flattening of the curve so that the City can get back to hosting its regular events.
Bonnyville’s reverse parade sidelined
The Town announced early Wednesday morning that with the restriction on outdoor events, the Santa Claus parade will be cancelled.
The reverse parade would’ve seen stationary floats parked at the Centennial Centre on Dec. 4 with patrons driving by to see the floats.