THUNDER BAY – Marcus Powlowski the member of Parliament for Thunder Bay Rainy-River says, “COVID-19 has devastated many parts of our regional economy, particularly those related to tourism and travel. Without people traveling to our region, many businesses have seen their customer base completely vanish. That is why, after speaking with local municipal leaders, doctors and the health units in Thunder Bay and Rainy River, I want to encourage individuals living across Northwestern Ontario to help support the local economy and consider safely spending some of their time and money this summer at our region’s locally owned fishing and hunting lodges, campgrounds, hotels, marine rental shops, and other tourism businesses.
“Our region has done a good job of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Though travel always carries some risk for spread – as does any public activity – this risk is likely quite low at the moment given the comparatively small number of identified cases of COVID-19 in our region. If you have the desire to take a vacation this summer, you are likely at your safest staying in the Northwest.
“The local tourism industry needs your support too. Many of its businesses have seen their revenues decrease by more than 80% this season with the closure of the US-Canada border, and some are considering closing for good. Though I am advocating for more financial support from the Government for this industry, developing the local market is still necessary to help this industry stay viable during the age of COVID-19.
“There are important caveats to what I had said above, however. Any travelers in our region should make sure they are aware of the local public health guidance for where they are traveling and abide by it. They should also make sure that the businesses they are patronizing have plans in place to follow this guidance. If any traveler begins to feel sick after they start traveling, they should notify public health as soon as possible so that testing can be done. Last, every traveler should wear a mask in public spaces whenever possible – as should all people in our region. Mask wearing will help to ensure that we do not experience a resurgence of the disease.
“Northwestern Ontario has a lot of great sites to visit. I encourage everyone who is able to take time this summer to safely and responsibly enjoy our region.”