NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. & ONTARIO (WKBW-TV) — Looking for something to do this weekend? You might want to set your sights on Niagara Falls where several popular attractions are reopening on both sides of the border after Covid-19.
The attractions have taken steps to ensure health safety for visitors, which includes wearing a mask when necessary, maintaining social distance, and some other special protections for particular attractions (such as helicopter and jet boat rides).
Those attractions planning to be reopened for the Canada Day and Fourth of July holiday weekend:
AQUARIUM OF NIAGARA - NIAGARA FALLS, USA
Capacity is limited at 25% and groups must stay together. Masks are required along with social distancing. General admission begins on July 4th with admission sold through the aquarium's website
HORNBLOWER NIAGARA CRUISES - NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO
Passengers must have a mask, have their temperature checked, and have their hands sprayed with a sanitizer before getting on board to set sail into the mist of Niagara Falls.
LOCKPORT CAVE & UNDERGROUND BOAT RIDE - LOCKPORT, NY
By reservation only.
OLD FORT NIAGARA - YOUNGSTOWN, NY
The living history program will be conducted outdoors. Musket firings will happen and the historic old, buildings will be open for visitors.
RAINBOW AIR - NIAGARA FALLS, USA
Has some restrictions about how many people can fly at one time in its helicopters.
WHIRLPOOL JET BOATS - NIAGARA FALLS, USA
Riders will have to wear a helmet with a face visor
COMING SOON: Trolley service in Niagara Falls State Park expected to resume next week.
Normally, the Canada Day and Fourth of July holiday weekend is the 'Black Friday' for tourism, explained John Percy, President & CEO of Destination Niagara USA, as huge crowds usually travel back-and-forth across the border.
This year, things will be slower because non-essential travel is still restricted at the border between Canada and the USA. That lack of international tourism is greatly hurting tourism income for both countries. Percy said the total impact is still being calculated but the loss of tourism money, due to the pandemic, is expected to be in the millions of dollars.
However, Percy said this is a great time for 'locals' to try the attractions in the Niagara Falls area as crowds will be down and many steps have been taken to ensure health safety as part of a program called "Unified in Safety." That program sets a list of strict safety requirements for both the attractions and its participants.
Destination Niagara USA is also undertaking a new marketing strategy of promoting the Niagara Falls area for having wide-open spaces with adventure. The promotion is getting a lot of attention through the internet - especially about lodging and attractions - from people who have pent-up energy to travel.
"We believe our comeback will be stronger than our setback," added Percy