Grand Portage Lodge and Casino is full of anticipation.
Brian Sherburne, business administrator with the border destination on the shore of Lake Superior, says COVID-19 has been tough on everyone on both sides of the Canada-U.S. Border. Normally, the operation attracts many visitors from Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is less than an hour away.
“This summer has been better than last summer because Isle Royale has reopened and a lot of this traffic from the south that goes to Isle Royale National Park is back,” he said. he declares. “But we are missing this cross-border traffic. “
Sherburne says that in a normal year, they get a lot of people, especially fishermen, who go to resorts across Canada, stop and spend a night at the lodge on their back and forth trips.
“We also have people traveling south, and that obviously hasn’t happened,” Sherburne said. “It was a little more difficult without Thunder Bay and the surrounding areas having been able to descend as they normally would. We hope that the United States decides to release more positive news than what it did by extending by one month.
Sherburne says they hoped the United States would follow suit with the opening of the Canadian border on August 9. Instead, the United States extended border restrictions until at least August 21.
“We also face staff shortages and this has been a problem throughout the North Shore,” he said. Sherburne says this is in part due to not being able to access the international visa workers who usually come to the area. He says there are a few of these workers in the area, but none of them work at the lodge and casino.
“The service is going to be tested a bit because we are not fully booked as we would like, but everyone can still come and play the slots and enjoy the accommodation,” he said. declared.
“A lot of people leave the city of Thunder Bay because it’s so close and it’s great to get out of town for a night or two to a place that is less than an hour away. We miss everyone who goes down too.
Sherburne says she has received phone calls, emails, texts and social media messages from people wishing to visit soon.
“We look forward to the day when we can welcome our Canadian friends again,” he said. “This is a symbiotic relationship and with the closure of all businesses north of the southern border of Canada, it has been a challenge for both parties and we would love to see that day when we could come back to the normal.”
The lodge includes a casino, dining room, bar, lodging, marina, trading post, local grocery and convenience store, gas station and Hollow Rock Resort, which is a small cluster of waterfront cottages from the lake a few kilometers from the road. There is a motorhome park which also has water, sewer and electricity hookups on site.
Sherburne says there is a highway construction project underway and the highway is being completely replaced.
“They’re moving fast so people can see a new route when they get to the American side. “
The RV park is currently filled with workers from the highway project.
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