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Aug. 8, 2020 | Saturday
Editorials and Opinions
Editorial: Don't come to NOTL – for now
Editorial

Please stay home.

Don’t come to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

We really want you to visit, just not now. Another time. Please.

Those are the messages the Town of NOTL has been trying to get out to the masses. It’s highly unusual that a town so reliant on tourism and visitors would suddenly start urging those same people to NOT come to NOTL.

But these are unusual times, as we all know. We have a vulnerable population and no one wants to see a large community outbreak of COVID-19.

Undoing decades of successful marketing – and getting through to people who are suffering cabin fever and just want to get out of the house to enjoy the nice weather – will not happen overnight.

The town’s advertising, the lord mayor and councillors admonishing visitors to stay away, and the electronic signs put up last week near the gateways to NOTL certainly will help somewhat.

However, as our story about scores of visitors to town last weekend shows, human nature being what it is, many people are just gonna do what they want.

So, what to do?

Continue to pound home the message that while (most of) Niagara-on-the-Lake welcomes visitors when the town is open for business, now is not the time to come here. Period.

No washrooms. Few restaurants open. No need to hop in the car and take a leisurely drive along the uncrowded highways and byways to visit NOTL – or cottage country or any other similar destinations. (And if you do come, and you violate any of the provincial orders, be prepared to be ticketed. That could make it a pricey outing.)

Anything else?

Locally, the Niagara Parks Commission can get with the program and close access to its various parking lots, notably along the Niagara Parkway. It’s singular, easy-to-miss signs in the green spaces saying the area is closed do nothing to deter the hordes who cruise the Parkway and stop to relax, have a picnic or enjoy the view. 

The parks commission has shut access to the dock area in Queenston to deter crowds of fishing folk. There seems to be no good reason to keep its other parking lots open. Doing so just encourages people to congregate in places where they really shouldn’t. And closing them might help deter people from coming to explore NOTL.

Lastly, each of us can do our own small part: Tell your friends, relatives and loved ones to stay away. For now. Actively use your personal connections to let people know that, while Niagara-on-the-Lake would love to have them come visit, now simply is not the time.

Tell them and ask them to pass it on.

And maybe, in just a few more weeks, we’ll be able to change our tune and invite the world to return to NOTL.

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