Tourism operators call on the government for support to survive
THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, ONT. -- With multiple physical distancing measures in place, The Village at Blue has been welcoming tourists all summer, but it hasn't been business as usual here.
"There was less people here spending less money, and that impacts businesses for sure," said Matt Hubert, The Village Market.
Provincial rules have limited capacity through the peak season, and now that the summer is winding down, there is more uncertainty ahead.
"The foot traffic will be way down, so there is a huge unknown September, October, November," Hubert said.
According to The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), government investment is needed to protect the 36 billion dollar industry. Otherwise, those that survived the shutdown will not survive the recovery.
Andrew Siegwart, President of the Village Association, is calling for wage subsidies and rent relief programs to be extended.
"Compensating for some of the losses businesses are experiencing... because of the reduced capacity, that allows them to stay afloat, to keep their employment, continue to grow and serve our community's needs and to maintain health outcomes and safety protocols that the government is requiring of us," Siegwart said.
The TIAO has a list of suggestions on how the government could help.
In the Village at Blue, innovative crowd behaviour measures and new attractions offer a path forward, so people feel safe to enjoy themselves.
The resort is unveiling a new nighttime attraction called AGORA later this week. It's hoped that it will help draw people to the area over the shoulder season.