While globally, things are pretty dim right now, it’s clear which countries responded well to the COVID-19 pandemic and have recovered much quicker (see Germany and Japan). But, you don’t have to cross the Pacific or Atlantic to see how different countries are handling the crisis better than the U.S. As a report from the Guardian illustrates, you just have to look to the northern neighbors.
The Guardian spoke with Mory DiMaurizio, who lives near Niagara Falls and serves as vice-president and general manager of the main Canadian tour company Hornblower Niagara Cruises. Despite the fact that his company’s tour boats can carry 700 people at a time, due to COVID-19 regulations, the tours now only transport a party of six.
On the other side of the border in the US, the company Maid of the Mist is loading up its 500-person tour boats at 50 percent capacity. It’s quite the metaphor. As the Guardian points out, Ontario, the region surrounding Niagara Falls, has seen 38,000 coronavirus cases and 2,755 deaths. The area has a population of about 15 million. Meanwhile New York State, with a population of 19.5 million, has had 414,000 COVID-19 cases and 32,000 deaths.
Oh Canada, with your universal healthcare and early social distancing measures.
Of course, both countries have suffered incredible losses due to this virus, but the U.S. has suffered multiple times more deaths.
Both Hornblower and Maid of the Mist have financially suffered from the decrease in the number of tourists. “There’s no light at the end of the tunnel … with respect to being profitable this year. That is not the goal. The goal is to experience as little pain as possible,” DiMaurizio told the Guardian, before acknowledging that the community’s safety takes precedent. After this week, the company will be able to allow up to 100 passengers aboard each tour.
“We would really like to be in a position to have that [many customers] but you do have to balance it with supporting the province and their measures for keeping everybody safe.”