Influx of seasonal cottagers head north during pandemic
BRACEBRIDGE -- The Victoria Day long weekend is the unofficial kick off to cottage season, but Muskoka and Bracebridge are already seeing an influx of people.
While essential stores remain open for local residents they were not prepared for a pandemic.
One grocery store owner says it’s normally slow at this time, but it’s been hard keeping the shelves stocked, while another says he hasn’t had a break for almost three weeks working 12-hour days.
The Mayor of Muskoka Lakes, Phil Harding says the grocery stores were hit hard.
"Two weeks ago I feel like things got stressed because people started hoarding, and that is truly common for seasonal and permanent residents, and everyone in Ontario to stock their shelves and protect their own families,” said Harding.
He adds right now employees at essential stores are managing.
"Right now in the Township of Muskoka Lakes, we do not have a need to declare a state of emergency"
In a Facebook post Saturday night, Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith addressed the town with the current situation, and his concerns.
"Stay home means stay home, it's the only tool we have to make things better and I want you to use that tool," says Smith while urging travellers coming home to be mindful, "they need to know that when they are coming home, and if you are a snowbird coming home, you need to know that there is no stop on the way."
Smith says earlier this week council passed a motion to delay taxes for small businesses and residents. This includes property taxes as well as sewer and water taxes which will ease the pressure of the influx for the next 60 days.