Many Northland Resort Towns Are Worried They Won’t Survive The Summer If Pandemic Continues
For 12 years Elbow Lake Lodge in Cook Mn has proudly hailed their resort as the perfect place for social distancing but for the last two months GM Lee Byram has been the only person on the property. Since the end of February they have not had one single guest. With the stay at home orders and fear of the pandemic he has had a lot of cancellations.
Byram spoke with KBJR and said "There's been almost 80 nights of cancellations. You're looking at thousands and thousands of dollars. Every time the phone rings you get nervous." Not far from Elbow Lake Lodge is the West side of Lake Vermilion that is usually overflowing with tourists and people with cabins from opening fishing to Labor Day .
KBJR reports " According to the group Minnesota Resort Sales, occupancy is down 25% to 50% at family resorts statewide. Numbers not even seen during the Great Recession. A trend that could soon have a trickle down effect."
Besides the resorts many local businesses are taking a hit as well with the lack of tourists. Joseph Kruchowski is the owner of Northwoods Bait and Tackle had all eight of his employees quit because they were worried about getting sick. So for the first time in more than 20 years he and his wife will have to man the store for the Summer Season by themselves.
Their is one glimmer of hope in the town of Cook the Zups grocery store that burned down has been rebuilt and is set to open next week. This is the only grocery store in within 20 miles which is great for locals but they need tourist support too.
Former Cook Chamber President Lisa Ojenen said to KBJR "A lot of businesses will close. It will hurt them that bad. If we don't have the snowbirds coming back, the tourism, the traffic to Canada for fishing, we won't survive." Here's to hoping for everyone's sake that things can return to as normal as possible sooner rather than later, but that means all of us following guidelines and trying to be as safe as possible.