Ashleigh Weeden

With warmer weather coming, many are making plans to head to cottage country to escape cramped quarters back in the city.

But a University of Guelph expert on rural studies is warning that cottage country should not be the place where Canadians choose to “ride out the pandemic.”

“In short, this is a very bad idea,” said Ashleigh Weeden, a PhD candidate in rural studies in the School of Environmental Sciences.

Weeden warned that many of the towns in these areas simply don’t have the health-care facilities that can handle an influx of vacationers who suddenly become ill with COVID-19. Seasonal visitors can also pose a risk if they have the virus but are asymptomatic.

An increase in population, even if it’s small, can also be hard on rural areas’ already strained resources, such as grocery stores.

Weeden recently spoke to Buzzfeed News for an article entitled “This Pandemic is Not Your Vacation” and said many who live in rural areas year-round are worried that summertime arrivals will leave their communities vulnerable.

In the video below, Weeden provides further thoughts on the problem and suggestions for how to help.


Ashleigh Weeden