‘Very shocking’: video captures huge crowds and queues at Niagara Falls

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TORONTO – City of Niagara Falls, Ont., Presents new plan to ensure visitors adhere to public health guidelines after video was released showing popular tourist destination teeming with crowds in apparent disregard of physical distance amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cole Morningstar recorded the video on Saturday night after cycling and noticing a traffic jam in the tourist area of ​​Clifton Hill.

Because the area has been largely deserted for weeks, Morningstar said he got off his bike and went to investigate.

When he reached the top of the hill, he said he saw a “huge” line of people waiting for the Ferris wheel and two other long lines for the Niagara Speedway Go Kart track where an employee reportedly tested positive at the. virus this week.

“It was very shocking,” Morningstar told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview Thursday. “It was like the busiest first day, like a very busy day, there for a long, long time. So I feel like they just weren’t prepared for the number of crowds that showed up that day.

Morningstar pulled out his camera and started recording as he walked through the large crowd of people enjoying a night out.

In the images, visitors can be seen lined up in close proximity to each other while waiting for the various attractions while others weave their way between them to make their way through the long lines.

Almost no one wears face masks and some of the few seem to wear them incorrectly with their noses uncovered or the masks tucked under the chin.

Morningstar said he wore a mask as he walked through the area, but was still concerned for his own safety.

“There are times in the video where I’m a foot away, trying to like to pass because the lines are so long,” he recalls.

In an effort to draw attention to the crowds in the area, Morningstar shared the video with the Amusement Insiders YouTube channel. Since its publication on Tuesday, the video has garnered more than 160,000 views and hundreds of comments.

MAYOR’S REPLIES

The video also prompted Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati to hold a press conference Thursday morning where he addressed the crowds at Clifton Hill the previous weekend.

“I was really worried. The first thing that came to my mind was that I was wondering when this happened and why it happened, because this summer has been very quiet in terms of crowds, ”he said. to CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview Thursday.

“Saturday night was the busiest night we’ve had all year. So it was a very crazy and crazy time.

Diodati said he immediately met with “key stakeholders” and that they developed a new plan for the region, dubbed the “Crush the Curve” ambassador program.

Beginning Thursday morning, the program involves local employees dressed in lime green monitoring the tourist area and promoting public health guidelines by distributing hand sanitizer, selling masks at cost, and reminding people to stand at a distance of two meters from each other.

“Our goal is compliance rather than conviction,” Diodati said. “We’re going to try to take an outreach approach and do it in a friendly way… people are tired and there is fatigue, they call it COVID fatigue, and we need people to be diligent and vigilant.

Diodati also said they would add more markings to the floor to show people where to walk and queue, install more hand sanitizing stations and create more space in the area for visitors.

“We know the crash of the curve never stops. It is an ongoing process and we are ready to do whatever we need to do. Everything is on the table, ”he said.

The mayor added that 40,000 people depend on tourism in the region for their income and that the city is still trying to find the right balance to keep these businesses afloat while maintaining public safety.

“There is no manual. There is no ‘COVID for Dummies’, ”he says. “We have 40,000 of these people counting on us to do the right thing. We are trying to figure this out. No stone is left behind. “

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