The spreading of fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 Virus has been impactful. Many communities throughout the Great Lakes Region are dealing with the virus and its aftermath. Forced shutdowns, park closures, curfews and stay home mandates are among the ways we have been combating the spread. The State of New York has been hit incredibly hard having nearly 50% of cases in the United States. Pennsylvania, Ohio, & Michigan all have reported cases and have instituted mandates in more populated cities.
Along these Lake Shores things are different. Within these states lie cities and towns that rely heavily on the tourism of fishing to bring in their finances. Not only have forced shutdowns impacted day to day business operations, but it is now cutting down the fishing tourism. The fishing is still great. But lack of stores, restaurants, bars and campground shutdowns have turned fishing into day trips. Bait shops and charter captains in these areas also rely heavily on the out of town crowd. Charter captains spend each year attending shows and advertising to different areas in search of clients hundreds of miles away. Fishermen from all over, flock to these destinations, boats in tow in hopes of landing a fish of a lifetime. COVID-19 has left the captains tied to the docks.
Charter fishing taking a hit
Currently requests for people to stay at home along with all non essential businesses closing has the captains at a stand still. In recent talks with our network of charter captains, many were reporting many cancellation calls throughout the month of April. A few have become very frustrated with the cancellation calls. They plan on moving April trips, and postponing a month to officially open the season. This is troubling with some of the best fishing on the Great Lakes coming in the month of April. Being a captain on the Great Lakes has enough hurdles to jump over as is. Adding the COVID-19 virus to the mix is a problem that goes beyond mechanical failure, bad weather, and friendly competition. It is literally shutting down the charter industry due to health concerns. It is frustrating but needed to help stop the problem.
Tourism shutdowns and postponed opening
Other places like Cedar Point and Niagara Falls there is worry that the season will never grab any footing. Niagara Falls is currently open with free parking. Cedar Point has delayed it opening until mid May. Most people seem to be worried more about their family and finances, to think about their vacation right now. COVID-19 has added a new obstacle into business for next few months.
There is hope
We can only hope that this will pass quickly. The United State currently has the most cases of COVID-19 globally. The loss in business for 2020 will have a significant impact. We can only hope with some warmer weather and time away from the masses will halt this disease from spreading. Like a bad storm this will pass. Then we all can get back to business and fishing as usual.
Stay Home, Stay Healthy!