Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford says the Ontario government is looking at their options for reopening.

"We're still in the throes of this pandemic," said the minister in a video message posted yesterday. 

The minister's comments come as a rally is being planned to support the demands of the tourist sector operators. The event is planned for June 13 in Vermilion Bay.

"I just wanted to give you an update. The premier has announced we're taking a serious look at regionalization, and I'll have a strong voice, a strong say at how that rolls out," Rickford added in his message.

Rickford sits on both the emergency management and economic recovery committees of cabinet. Along with his role as MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, he's also the minister responsible for energy and indigenous affairs.

"I want to make sure people understand we will continue to endeavour to strike the right balance between protecting our communites -- we've done such a great job with virtually no or very few COVID positives in our region -- and the fact our businesses are suffering," he continued in the message.

While Rickford appreciates cottagers want to use their properties, the minister also wants to avoid a second wave of the coronavirus.

Resorts, lodge operators and guiding services have been effectively shutdown during the pandemic. While there have been offers of assistance from federal and provincial governments, including wage subsidies, business owners aren't satisfied and they want to see more action in response to their needs.

For more information:

Greg Rickford MPP - Video message

Tourism sector rally (media release)

Tourism businesses ‘need clarity’ on their seasons, Melillo