Most B&B bookings in Niagara-on-the-Lake have already been cancelled for the next two months, as the impact of COVID 19 spreads through the local economy.
NOTL B&B’s are “losing an extreme amount of income, in the thousands of dollars for each place,” according to David Levesque, the president of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed & Breakfast Association.
“It’s pretty scary, especially for people with big mortgages,” he added. If banks approve mortgage deferrals, that is one good tool, he said. People have to apply and wait several days to hear from their bank.
“I’m waiting to see what the federal government will come up with for solutions. So far nothing they’ve announced would fit our situation.”
In NOTL, Levesque said “there is good, open communication right now, between the BBA, Chamber of Commerce, and the town. We are working together and we all have the business owners best interests in mind.”
There are active discussions about “how to make our lives easier, take some of the pressure off, and put tourism first,” he said, though he doesn’t expect any decisions or announcements before the beginning of April.
Inevitably, this year will be much slower than usual and it’s impossible to predict when tourism will return to NOTL, he said. But, “even if we get half of the usual number of tourists over the year, that’s still a big loss.”
Still, Levesque is encouraging people to make the right decisions for health first and foremost.