Optimism at a Waskesiu despite closures due to COVID-19
SASKATOON -- The resort town of Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park is gearing up for a different Victoria Day long weekend amidst COVID-19 restrictions.
The town usually sees an influx of visitors during this weekend, but this year the park is closed to day area users.
Management at one of the town’s two grocery stores is expecting more cabin owners than usual for this inaugural weekend of the season.
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Dave Archer owns the Waskesiu Trading Company. He has been running a business in Waskesiu for almost 30 years and says by all indication there will be a lot of cabin owners making the trip to the resort.
“Many of our employees from years past are students are not in school. Their families are going to up here and are saying they’re available to work and that’s unusual. Usually we struggle to get employees for the May long weekend,” Archer told CTV News.
There are just under 600 cabin and cottage owners there who can’t use their properties from mid October to spring thaw because the water is turned off during the winter.
The weather can still be cool in May and like this year, there is sometimes ice on the lake so the majority of locals stay away until it warms up.
Archer is optimistic about the amount of customers he’ll have this summer even with the pandemic.
In a statement to CTV News, Rae Kingdon, public relations and communications officer for Prince Albert National Park said: “All services and facilities such as washrooms, playgrounds, beaches, parking lots and picnic shelters remain closed. The use of motorized watercraft for the purposes of recreational fishing and boating, is prohibited at this time. Highway 264 to Waskesiu remains open for through traffic only.”
The golf course opens Saturday with extra precautions being taken including fewer tee times and golfers waiting in their vehicles until 10 minutes before their tee time, according to general manager Tyler Baker.
“I hope people have as much confidence in us as we do in keeping people safe and providing them with a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the weather and get some exercise and burn off the COVID layover,” Baker said.
The restaurant and club house is closed and the driving range will be limited with specific traffic patterns to allow for proper physical distancing.
The golf course staff have gone over the plan to ensure proper health standards are being adhered to, he said.
Most accommodations in the townsite are closed while the liquor store is open and the pizza restaurant is offering take out.