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Hitting the "Pause” Button

February 12, 2021 - COVID-19 Update on operations for Down East Tours.

Back in April 30, 2020 we suspended all touring services due to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) and the world-wide pandemic as that was the right thing to do. On July 10, 2020 we released an update on resuming activities where at the that time travel restrictions were easing within the Atlantic Provinces and we were hopeful, as all tour operators were, that we would have some sort of season. Health and Safety Best Practices were put into place and outlined as that was the right thing to do.

We held out the hope of some tours from the Atlantic Bubble. Eventually, the bubble collapsed. There was very little travel between the provinces and the USA Borders were still closed. This meant for many operators, including Down East Tours, zero tours/activity.

Hope that was held out since March 2020 was now hope that was being refocused for the 2021 season and for things to get back to normal. Still, not knowing what will happen.

Earlier this month the Federal Government announced a Cruise Ship Ban into Canadian Waters until February 2022. Additionally, there are still travel restrictions for entry into Canada, including 14-day self isolation and negative COVID testing requirements. The USA Border still is still closed and likely will be for the foreseeable future. These restrictions are necessary to help stop the spread of COVID 19. It is unknown at this point how future travelers entering Canada for tourism will be affected or any documentation to be expected. Or when this will be allowed.

85% of Down East Tours guests are travelers arriving in Halifax by cruise ship with the majority of our tours having American Guests. The balance is from Hotel Guests and guests from around the world. The world-wide pandemic still ongoing and still evolving. There are now vaccines but there are some new variants to COVID-19 leading to other unknowns. With this information, I do not see any return to tourism activity here in Nova Scotia until April 2022 at the earliest. Additionally, a more sustainable activity in offering tours may not happen until June 2022 or much later. Again, this is still an unknown situation and a fair distance into the future.

Having said that, I have come to the reluctant but necessary decision to put on ‘Pause’ all Down East Tours operations, as this is the right thing to do. I will re-evaluate in the future when the finger can be taken off the ‘Pause” button. This will be based on when things get back to a new normal from the Cruise Ship ban being lifted to the international border being reopened to the United States and Internationally.

Canadian and Nova Scotia Tourism can and will rebuild but it will take time.

Until then I will continue to take inquires and post tour photos to keep the hope alive on our social media feeds of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I appreciate all the past and future support and well wishes.

In the meantime, I will focus my attention on my off-season activity of Home Improvement Services. Please visit www.fb.com/ziltech for more information.

Take care and stay safe.

Mel Zilkowsky
Owner/Operator
Down East Tours