Crowds crowd Niagara Falls tourist attractions, ignore physical distance rules

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TORONTO – Videos that have appeared online of crowds appearing to ignore physical distance guidelines in Niagara Falls have raised concerns over visiting the popular tourist destination. Niagara Falls resident Cole Morningstar sparked outrage online after posting videos of people on Clifton Hill on Saturday night.

“It’s really bad here,” the 20-year-old told CTV News Toronto on Thursday. “A lot of people don’t even seem to care. ”

He said only about 10% of people appeared to wear a mask, although physical distance was a challenge.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love the tourist attractions near the falls, but when everyone decides to come it gets dangerous. ”

His crowd videos have been viewed over 165,000 times and even prompted the mayor to announce some changes.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said Thursday morning that 40,000 people in the region depend on tourism for a living, so it’s important to strike a balance between allowing people to visit and maintaining a safe environment.

He said Saturday was the busiest night at major tourist attractions since the start of the pandemic.

“Together we are trying to find the best way to do it, where we can actually make a living and do it in a safe way,” said Diodati. “That’s what an ultimate goal is. ”

Diodati announced on Thursday that he would immediately implement a plan to maintain proper health protocols for tourists.

“We want it to be safe to play,” Diodati said, adding that the plan will be more about encouraging compliance with municipal laws than seeking convictions and handing down fines.

He said local workers, dressed in yellow shirts and hats, will approach groups of people who do not distance themselves and provide them with friendly reminders about the safety measures.

Diodati also said he was confident Niagara Falls would implement mandatory mask regulations at a board meeting scheduled tonight.

“Some people refuse to follow the protocols and we will encourage these people to follow the protocol,” he said.

Ontario reported 103 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including 10 in the Niagara region.

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