BOWDEN — Organizers of a recent rodeo and rally near Bowden protesting COVID-19 restrictions have been charged with violating the Public Health Act.
Ty and Gail Northcott were served with papers to that effect on May 10. They’re due in Red Deer provincial court to face the charge on May 17.
“They were served a summons by RCMP yesterday for violation under section 73(1) of the Public Health Act. It’s basically saying failing to comply with the Public Health Act,” RCMP Cst. Chantelle Kelly of RCMP Media Relations said on May 11.
The so-called No More Lockdowns Rodeo Rally was held May 1-2 on private property in Red Deer County at the junction of Highway 2A and Twp. Rd. 341.
It drew hundreds – some said thousands – of spectators, virtually none of whom wore masks or were socially distanced.
Heather Kipling, Alberta Health Services (AHS) central zone communications director, issued a statement in regard to the matter.
“AHS has worked with RCMP, the Bowden Agriculture Society and Red Deer County to confirm the rodeo event was in violation of CMOH (Chief Medical Officer of Health) orders, and attempted to work with organizers proactively to not allow the event to proceed,” the statement read.
“At this time there are no cases directly linked to the rodeo event; however it is important to remember that symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure.
“In some cases symptoms may be mild and individuals may not seek out COVID-19 testing.
"COVID-19 can also be spread asymptomatically, and an individual may not know they are spreading the virus. This is why it is imperative that all Albertans continue to follow CMOH orders to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus to others," it added.
Kipling noted that on May 6, Court of Queen’s Bench granted AHS an injunction against illegal gatherings and rallies that break COVID-19 public health orders.
“This applies to the organizers and future rodeo events,” the statement said.
“AHS Environmental Public Health continues to enforce the restrictions, in partnership with enforcement partners including but not limited to municipalities authorities, police, and RCMP.
“AHS does not issue tickets or fines. Tickets, fines and criminal charges are under the jurisdiction of local law enforcement.”