COLLINGWOOD, ONT. -- As hospitals experience limited capacity with the virus spreading faster than ever, there is concern growing among popular tourist destinations that visitors from Grey-Lockdown zones will travel north.

While the province's COVID-19 framework requires anyone in a lockdown designation to remain home, only leaving for essentials, Collingwood and surrounding areas continue to see an influx of out-of-towners, especially on weekends.

On one side, tourists are great for local business, but the risk remains great, prompting Collingwood council to call on the province to amp up travel restrictions.

Mayor Brian Saunderson said they are asking residents not to leave town. "And we are asking people outside of Simcoe County and Collingwood to stay put and not come. We are a tourist destination, but this is not the time to be travelling."

However, the slopes may prove to be a powerful lure for those looking to escape the COVID blues, and Collingwood is the gateway to ski country. Adding to the attraction, Blue Mountain, the largest ski resort in the province, opens Saturday. There are five private ski clubs nearby, all located in Grey County, an area still in the yellow category.

Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka's chief medical officer of health, has advised against non-essential travel between coloured zones. He said Ontario needs to do more to get the message across.

"It would be helpful for the province to be very vocal about this and make it part of their strong messaging and communications supports," Gardner said.

The mayor is hopeful local businesses will continue to be busy - but with local customers.