98 The Beach

98 The Beach

Friday, March 20, 2020

Sauble Mayor Anticipates Influx Of Cottage Isolators

Bruce Peninsula | by Claire McCormack  

Janice Jackson says loads of snowbirds and those escaping the GTA are coming to the area.

South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson is expecting an influx of cottagers in the area because of COVID-19.

"We have an abundance of snowbirds and they're all flying home early or driving home for fear that air traffic will just completely shut down."

With people working from home,  and self-isolating after returning from abroad, she's anticipating the population will balloon despite the off-season.

The federal government is now directing anyone who is returning from travel abroad to self-isolate for 14 days.

Jackson says that message hasn't reached all of them yet, "I'm hearing from a lot of them when I'm talking to them via email that they have no idea they have to go into a 14 day self quarantine. They're shocked by that."

"I would like to see the whole community help each other," says Jackson, who wants to send a message to full-time residents, "Maybe help our snowbirds and seasonal residents to be really vigilant and tell them, 'Look you've got to stay inside for 14 days...how can we help you, can we do some shopping for you, what can we do to help you through this?"

Jackson says she plans to deliver groceries to her 92 year old uncle who is on his way home from Florida, "I'll do all his shopping and leave the bag at the door for him. But we have to do that for each other. We're going to have to really help each other through this."

On top of snowbirds, Jackson says people who are self isolating or have been directed to work from home, are coming to their cottages to take advantage of the less crowded atmosphere of the Bruce Peninsula.

"In Toronto you can't really go for a walk in the city without running into people whereas you can up here. I understand the desire for our cottagers to want to go through that up here in our municipality."

She notes, "50 per cent of my community is over 55 and 20 per cent are over 70. So we really have to be proactive."

"I would really like when this is all over to see that Bruce County and Grey County had the lowest numbers because we were that vigilant," says Jackson.

The Town of South Bruce Peninsula has closed its municipal office and all municipal facilities to the public. That includes the Sauble Community Centre, Wiarton Arena and Ross Whicher Centre. Municipal events and programs are cancelled and council and committee meetings are cancelled.

Jackson says the Town is also looking at how to handle a summer trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, "We get upwards of 2 million people, if this is still going on in the summertime which it may very well be."

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