Good riddance to 2020: How Calgarians can safely ring in the new year

CALGARY — There is no question 2020 has been a year to remember and perhaps one that we’d all like to forget due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the course of our everyday lives.

Despite the so-called “new normal” of physical distancing, wearing masks and attempting to avoid large crowds, there are still plenty of safe ways to ring in the new year.

In fact, the City of Calgary has shared a list on its website of safe, outdoor activities ranging from outdoor skating rinks and toboggan hills to cross-country ski and snowshoe tracks.

Winter fire pits have also been a popular attraction as more than 900 requests have been received this month alone for the city’s 15 bookable spots.

Another 37 ‘first come-first serve’ fire pits are available throughout Calgary, but superintendent for arts and culture Ben Brackett is reminding people to enjoy the outdoors safely. 

“We have signage at each fire pit outlining some of the key messages around safety and it’s important for Calgarians to know these pits can only be used by one, single household at a time,” Brackett said.

“We have been absolutely inundated with this program with a huge amount of success and we’re expanding the program in the New Year to incorporate 50 additional fire pits across that city.”

Virtual Celebrations 

Aside from outdoor activities, the city is encouraging Calgarians to enjoy online countdown celebrations and participate in zoom calls with friends or family members. 

Although the traditional Olympic Plaza fireworks show is cancelled, last year’s show is also still available on YouTube to enjoy as the clock strikes midnight. 

The city is reminding people that it will not be issuing any fireworks permits while COVID-19 restrictions remain in effect so at home fireworks will not be allowed. 

Support a local business 

As many Calgarians will remain indoors this year for New Year’s celebrations, the city is encouraging people to order curbside pickup or delivery from their favourite local restaurant. 

Plenty of different restaurants are offering special New Year’s Eve dinners that can be enjoyed at home, including special cocktail kits and other fun specialty items. 

Follow Public Health Measures 

The city is reminding Calgarians about the importance of following all public health measures which include a ban on all large gatherings, physical distancing, wearing a mask and staying at home if sick. 

Calgary police and bylaw officers will be monitoring public areas such as city parks that may become overcrowded and enforcement is expected to ramp up for anyone violating health measures.

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