Mother Nature turns the heat on, but is it enough to help the tourism industry?
GRAVENHURST -- Mother Nature has finally turned the heat on, leaving many to wonder where they could go to enjoy the summer-like weather.
The pandemic has devastated most industries with the closure of many businesses and operations.
A recent survey by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario found more than 60 per cent of tourism businesses are closed, and half of all the seasonal businesses aren't sure they will even be able to open this season.
In Wasaga Beach, however, some business owners are more confident.
"It may be a bit slower than usual, but I think we're going to have a fairly decent summer up here," says Pedro's Gift Shop owner, Dean Prezio.
"We're a day-tripping destination, and I think people are going to be doing a lot of day-tripping destinations," he adds.
Over in Gravenhurst, the Wenonah II would normally set sail for the first time this weekend, but instead, it's sitting at the dock.
The Segwun, North America's oldest operating steamship, would typically follow a month later, but so far, there's no date set for when it will venture out.
"We get anywhere from 40 to 45 thousand people a year at the ships," says John Miller, president, Muskoka Steam Ships and Discover Centre.
Miller says when they do set sail, things will be slightly different.
"We are going to be doing things to accommodate less people. We'll be distancing on the ship. We want to make sure the customers and the crew, the staff, everyone is safe."
Staff at the Wharf say they are hoping for a mid-season opening.