Alexandra Mae JonesCTVNews.ca writer
Published Thursday, May 14, 2020 10:11PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 14, 2020 11:54PM EDT
Resident Shelley Barron told CTV News that she is “begging them to please stay home.”
“Just this while longer, let us get over it,” she said.
Barron’s 76-year-old husband, Don, has health problems, and she’s worried that as the temperature warms up, more tourists could descend on her community -- tourists who may carry COVID-19 with them.
“They just don't get it, they think, ‘It's not me,’ or, ‘I'm not going to catch it,’” Barron said.
Port Dover is in Norfolk County, where a new bylaw bans cottage owners from using or renting their seasonal properties during the pandemic. The fine for those who are caught can go up to $5,000 per day.
“The premier speaks of wanting to gradually reopen the province,” Kristal Chopp, Norfolk County Mayor, said. “There is no ‘gradual’ in this case.”
She said that when it comes to tourists “it’s zero to 1,000 literally overnight here.”
The trouble is, Norfolk only has six bylaw officers who patrol 1,700 square kilometres. The OPP has refused to help ticket cottagers.
With resources so scarce, no one has actually been fined yet, despite the fact that tourists have already been flocking into Port Dover.
Chopp called it “a slap in the face” to the locals and to those who can’t go on vacation during this crisis.
“We have workers that are putting themselves at risk,” she said. “Essential employees [working] every day.”
Across the country, communities are trying to navigate the complications of an influx of people retreating to cottages and cabins -- or being unable to.
In Quebec, police are conducting random stops of cars with Ontario licence plates and turning some cars back. In New Brunswick, locals are anticipating a drop in revenue because American cottagers cannot cross the border into Canada.
And in Haida Gwaii, B.C., non-residents who arrive by ferry are being turned away -- a move that came only after tourists continuously ignored the Haida Nation’s ban on visitors