Niagara-on-the-Lake's friendly mask ambassadors are set to hit the streets again July 9, in anticipation of summer crowds.
The ambassador program began in 2020 as a way to educate visitors about COVID-19 safety and offer a bit of guidance on what to do in town.
Volunteers from the Shaw Guild wear blue NOTL ambassador T-shirts and walk around Old Town's commercial district, kindly asking visitors to keep COVID safety in mind and to wear a mask if they can't physically distance.
“This summer we're going to do the same thing. We're actually going to start July 9 and hopefully go until December,” said Cheryl Morris, who helps co-ordinate the project between the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Shaw Guild.
She said one thing learned from last year's program was the need for bilingual support.
“Especially French,” Morris said. ” A lot of visitors come from Quebec.”
She said this year guild members who are bilingual or French Canadian will be helping out.
Volunteers also will be more directly on the main street this year. Last year the ambassadors avoided the crowds on Queen Street because keeping a physical distance from people was difficult.
She said Shaw Guild members are eager to take part, as they haven't been able to volunteer for the Shaw since the pandemic began.
“It's great for the volunteers,” she said. “They haven't been able to support the Shaw this year, so it's great for them to give back to the community.”
Ambassadors will be on the streets from Friday to Sunday in two shifts, from noon until 2 p.m. and 2 until 4 p.m.
“Residents appreciate it and it's just a really nice feature,” Morris said.