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Kawartha Lakes tourism to be impacted by COVID-19

DAN CEARNS Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

KAWARTHA LAKES: The City of Kawartha Lakes is expecting their tourism industry to take a significant hit during this COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, the federal government made an announcement which affects the opening date for the Trent-Severn Waterway. “Parks Canada put an announcement out yesterday that they are delaying the opening of the locks and the waterways, until at least May 31st, while they continue to monitor the pandemic,” Mayor Andy Letham told residents in a YouTube video, posted on Thursday, April 16th. Mayor Letham explained further what this includes, in a telephone press conference. “That includes, from what I’m reading, access to water, their launches, their locks, all their amenities in their parks, asking people to stay off the waterways,” he said. Parks Canada explained the change, in a recent press release. “Parks Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians, visitors, and its employees. The Agency is calling on Canadians to stay home and help limit the spread of COVID-19. Camping, group activities and events at all national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas are suspended, until, at least May 31st, 2020. The current suspension of visitor services and vehicle access by visitors, as well as the temporary closure of visitor facilities, will remain in place until further notice,” the release stated. Mayor Letham talked about the potential impact to tourism, in the city, in the summer. “Our tourism [usually] starts to ramp up this time of year. All the businesses and amenities that go with that, most of those are shut down right now, so we’re not seeing that ramping up obviously. We had a feeling this was coming, but this is going to delay that process even longer. It’s going to be a tough summer for a lot of businesses and a lot of people,” he said. “We need to get ahead of this pandemic, but the longer it goes the harder it will be to recover from it.” Though he said the best way to help the local economy is to “get ahead of this virus.”

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