Northwestern Ontario Outfitters Hammered Hard by COVID-19

THUNDER BAY – Josh Varickanickal says that floatplane operations and tourism operations across Northwestern Ontario are in trouble. COVID-19 has shut the United States / Canadian border until at least June 21, 2020.

This impacts the fishing outfitters and tourist camp outfitters especially hard.

Varickanickal, the President on the Northwestern Ontario Air Carriers Association tells NetNewsLedger that as much as 70 per cent of the business that many of his members do happens by the end of June.

Right now, the association members are finding the uncertainty under the COVID-19 pandemic extremely unsettling. For a floatplane operation, many are not sure how they can survive, even with the current government supports.

Like other sectors of the transportation sector, insurance payments impact the floatplane industry. Varickanickal says that for example the $40,000 government loan would not cover that cost alone.

What is hard is that the costs of starting operations in these very uncertain times have tourism outfitters deeply worried.

NWOACA has reached out to regional political leaders. Marcus Powlowski and Eric Mellio have responded federally.