Almost every industry was slammed by the pandemic, but none as much as tourism. Banff is losing jobs soon after travel became nearly impossible and new social distancing measures came into place. Once-busy streets are empty in town but even in this stressful time, locals are looking out for each other and coming together as a community.

Banff Mayor Karen Sorenson told Narcity that, because most locals are in the tourism industry, their local economy has been "devastated."

"Every business in Banff has been deeply impacted," she said.

"That is a message with respect to tourism generally in Banff, in Alberta, in Canada, and of course, in places beyond."

Since the start of the outbreak, Sorenson estimates roughly 6,000 people have been laid off. While at first she claimed they were facing unemployment levels of 85%, she's no longer able to say.

They no longer know what their population is — people left town en masse once the lay-offs started. Sorenson explained that a large portion of their workers came from around the world, like New Zealand or Europe.

"As our workforce was being laid off, they were also leaving. Because they had someplace else to go," she said.

But there's good news too.

Normally, workers are given housing by their employers anyway. Sorenson said these companies are "doing a lot to not only shelter but feed the people who do remain, if they are their employees."

"Our employers here are looking after their own, which is very helpful," said Sorenson.

Banff reacted quickly to the pandemic, being one of the first municipalities in the province to declare a local state of emergency.

They've since closed a great deal of their shops and tourism businesses. However, tourists and travellers still tried to get in. Over the Easter long weekend, the town actually set up RCMP-mounted checkpoints to tell visitors to go home.

The same tactic was seen in other popular tourist sights around the country.

But after all this, Sorenson believes the town can bounce back. It won't be the same, it will take time, but it will be back.

"Banff will be a destination, again, where the world will want to visit," she said.

"I am always completely inspired by this community and the way we all work together."

Comments are now closed.
Account Settings
Notifications
Favourites
Share Feedback
Log Out

Register this device to receive push notifications