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April 9, 2021

We have all waited patiently for some good news and it just isn’t coming. We had been holding out for an official announcement from either the Canadian or US government but there seems to be little motivation on either side of the border to talk about the Summer.
Canadian vaccination rates are the metric most often mentioned by Canadian epidemiologists and government officials as to when the border will be open. The vaccine roll-out North of the border started poorly. As of the beginning of April, less than 2% of the population was fully vaccinated. Due to the lack of vaccine available, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization made the controversial decision to extend the interval between first and second doses of vaccine from 4 weeks to 4 months. With limited vaccine available, this decision to mostly protect more people is probably a good one for Canadians in general.
From a lodge owner’s perspective, it likely will seal the fate of the 2021 Summer season. I personally do not believe that the Trudeau or Ford administrations will approve of an open border to non-essential travelers until most all Canadians are fully vaccinated.
Further complicating matters is news that a Third wave of Covid 19 with variants of concern is building across the country. Ontario has implemented another lock down order extended for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Even without an official government statement I can tell you that the border will not be open in May, June, or July. Some operators are still hoping for an August or September opening. I personally don’t see it happening. We made the decision to make our opinions known now so that guests can look into alternative options for their summer vacations.
All deposits are safe. Most guests will likely transfer their deposits again to next season to secure their dates for next year. For those guests that need a refund, just let us know. Surprisingly, demand for spots is at an all time high. We currently have more than 70 groups on the waiting list. I mention this so that there are no surprises for guests that do ask for a refund. I will fill any vacancy in the book quickly.
We never imagined losing one full season, let alone two. It is a major blow but SWWL is a mature business and will not suffer long term damage. We will be forced to take out loans to make it through to the Spring of 2022, but we will survive.
We know how disappointing this is going to be, especially for all of us who are currently fully vaccinated. We can’t tell you how much we look forward to putting this in the rear-view mirror and getting back on with life. Until then, we encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible, stay safe, and feel free to check in with us at any time. We will sincerely miss seeing you again this summer.
Mike Willems
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