THUNDER BAY – A Thunder Bay MP is encouraging travel-ready residents of Northwestern Ontario to consider a trip within the region.
Marcus Powlowski (Lib., Thunder Bay-Rainy River), on Tuesday said Northwestern Ontario’s travel sector has been devastated by COVID-19 and can use all the help it can get.
“Without people traveling to our region, many businesses have seen their customer base completely vanish,” Powlowski said in a release.
“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.
Powlowski, an acute-care physician, said Northwestern Ontario has done a fantastic job containing the spread of COVID-19.
As of Tuesday morning, there are just three active cases within the Thunder Bay District Health Unit’s catchment area. There are only three more in the Northwestern Health Unit’s coverage area. Between the two districts, there have only been 131 positive cases to date.
Powlowski said while travel always brings the risk of further spread, that risk is quite low at the moment because of the small number of cases in the region. The best bet for a vacation is to stay closer to home, he added.
“The local tourism industry needs your support too. Many of its businesses have seen their revenues decrease by more than 80 per cent this season with the closure of the US-Canada border, and some are considering closing for good,” Powlowski said.
“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.”
Travelers must ensure they are aware of local public health guidance in place at their destination or along the way and must abide by it.
Any traveler who starts to feel sick should notify public health officials as soon as possible so testing can be done. Finally, vacationers should also wear masks in public spaces where possible to ensure there isn’t a COVID-19 resurgence in the area.
“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,” Powlowski said.