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Fort Macleod Santa Claus Parade cancelled

Fort Macleod’s Santa Claus Parade has been shut down for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council voted Monday not to approve road closures for the parade, which was scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 27.

The inability to ensure social distancing and the risk of the parade becoming a super-spreader of the COVID virus were cited as reasons for the cancellation.

It was a tough decision for council, with councillors Kristi Edwards, Gord Wolstenholme, Jim Monteith and Mackenzie Hengerer voting against the road closure.

Mayor Brent Feyter and councillors Marco Van Huigenbos and Werner Dressler voted in favour of closing the road so the parade could proceed.

Parade co-ordinators Sydney Tobler and Ashley Nelson appeared as a delegation at Monday’s meeting.

The outlined plans to extend the parade route by two blocks to provide more room for people to maintain the two-metre distance.

The parade committee also planned to use signage and have the announcer travel the parade route reminding people to maintain social distance.

The committee would also advertise less outside Fort Macleod in an attempt to keep crowds smaller.

“Our committee is willing to work with council,” Tobler said, adding any other suggestions for safety would be welcome.

Council, noting that Banff had just cancelled its Santa parade, decided the risk of spreading COVID-19 was greater than the reward.

In a related decision, council agreed to close Main Street for the annual Moonlight Madness event on Friday, Nov. 26.

Council cited smaller crowds and the ability to enforce social distancing in letting the event proceed.

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