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Jul. 7, 2020 | Tuesday
Local News
22,500: Number of weekend vehicles entering town doubles since start of May
Vehicles continue to line up on Queen Street on weekends. (Richard Harley)

The number of cars coming into NOTL last weekend has more than doubled since the beginning of May, according to numbers recorded by the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

On Saturday and Sunday, 22,513 vehicles drove into the Queen Street area, Interim chief administrator Sheldon Randall told council Monday night.

“If you average two people per vehicle, that would be over 45,000 people that came to Niagara-on-the-Lake,” he said.

The numbers are more than double the 10,452 vehicles recorded entering Old Town on the weekend of May 2 and 3.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero said the statistics are concerning and the town needs to be “very careful” about how it handles the situation — especially with how well the town has done so far in minimizing COVID-19 infections.

“Our numbers were really good, in terms of 21 (cases). Particularly since we have so many people coming back from being away in the winter, I’m really pleased that we were able to keep it down as low as we did. But now as people start to get complacent, that’s going to be difficult,” she said.

She acknowledge that people are tired of staying at home.

"They want to go out and see new places and spaces. And we are such a beautiful town that a lot of them are choosing to come here. So again, we have to be very careful in how we react to that influx of people. If we protect ourselves, that’s all we can do, because the province is opening things up.”

Disero urged NOTL residents to avoid the large crowds on weekends to stay safe.

Randall said the town will continue using traffic counters until the end of the summer.

During the weekend, town bylaw enforcement handed out eight fines for breaking emergency orders.

Coun. Clare Cameron asked Randall what the guidance is on having friends visit at houses.

Randall said that would be up to provincial regulations.

Provincial regulations say to limit the number of visitors in your home and only have visitors whom you must see (for example, for medical reasons or to drop off groceries).

"Do not invite people over to socialize," says the Ontario website.

If having a visitor for an essential purpose, the province advises to keep such visits short and don't visit with people who are in at-risk groups.

 

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