Cottage country businesses hopeful for busy summer season

Businesses across cottage country eagerly welcome back clientele for a relatively restriction-free summer season.

It's the first weekend of business for Susan Chute, owner of four ninety Muskoka Bed and Breakfast in Gravenhurst. Two years of pandemic shutdowns was a struggle for her and her business.

"I'm a senior, and I certainly don't have the cash flow that I would normally have had," says Chute

However, this year things are looking up. Chute says she has a lot of returning and new customers from around the region and even internationally.

"I have a lot of bookings right through until October. Not all of the days are booked, but pretty much every weekend is booked. I think people are so desperate to get out of their house and to come and do things," she adds.

Although restrictions have loosened, Chute says she's continuing to take precautions.

"I have people inside my house. I have gone through great expense to purchase a HEPA air filter," says Chute.

Meanwhile, gas prices aren't getting cheaper, but city officials still expect it to be busy the whole season.

"I think we're going to have a booming business; there's going to be no shortage of people. That's already been proven over the past little while; on our weekends, we have been very busy," says Bracebridge District Councillor Steven Clement.

However, some pandemic problems are still affecting businesses. Clement says staffing shortages are not only an issue in the Muskoka region, but across the province.

"I know the store owners have certainly got as much product as they possibly can and hired as many people as they can, but I just ask that anyone that comes to visit please be a little bit patient and show respect," says Clement.

Camping sites, resorts and hotels are starting to book up fast. If you're thinking of heading up north this summer, it's best to book a spot quickly.