Canada develops COVID-19 guidelines for major events

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OTTAWA -- The government has issued guidance to major event planners to inform when they should consider shutting down large gatherings in light of the looming threat of a possible novel coronavirus outbreak.

Though there's been only limited community transmission of the virus in Canada, concert promoters, major sports leagues and festivals say they are watching carefully to decide whether they should be bringing crowds of people together.

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says the decision will ultimately be up to individual event planners, as well as provinces and territories.

He explained some jurisdictions may be better placed to handle mass gatherings than others, and it's not up to the federal government to dictate which events should go ahead and which should be cancelled.

The guidelines also offer mitigation strategies, such as limiting the number of people at an event, staggering arrivals and departures, and making more hand-washing stations available. 

Earlier today the band Pearl Jam announced it would postpone the first leg of its tour, including several stops in Canada, over concerns about COVID-19 -- they are the first major act to cancel a live performance in Canada because of the virus.

The Canadian Press

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