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Large tailgate parties at Calgary’s Deerfoot City

The parking lot around Deerfoot City has become a gathering spot for people during the pandemic.

On Friday night, hundreds were spotted.

The mall’s general manager Debora Mathias says it’s been happening for weeks now, with warm weather bringing out the largest crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.

“Last night we had over 400 cars,” she said.

“The police are limited on what they can do. We have extra security on site and they’re limited to what they can do.”

Read more: COVID-19 ICU rates in Alberta reach all-time high

In COVID-19 hot spots like Calgary, outdoor gatherings are limited to five people, with the province encouraging people to keep them to two household cohorts.

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Alberta Health Services confirmed to Global News it is aware of the gatherings and said in a statement: “It is only when significant risk is identified or continued non-compliance is noted that AHS resorts to enforcement action.”

Mathias says the mall is trying to find a solution with staff blocking off parking.

Eight lots are fully closed, with two partially closed in an effort to curb the problem.

Read more: Alberta reports 1,195 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths on Saturday

“When our security would approach these people to try to find out who’s in charge so we can speak to them and end this, there’s no one to speak to,” Mathias said.

“Our security has talked to some of these individuals and their response is, ‘Well, we bought coffee so we’re customers and you can’t do anything.’ When we explain that this is private property, outdoor gatherings are not permitted and we’re asking you to leave, they are not leaving,” she added.

“We’re really in a tough spot.”

Global News reached out to the Calgary Police Service and the City of Calgary for comment but both did not respond before deadline.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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