Rural studies PhD candidate Ashleigh Weeden

Ashleigh Weeden, a rural studies PhD candidate in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, contributed a commentary to The Conversation Canada about the implications of “region hopping” during the pandemic.

She wrote that while inter-regional travel in the province is no longer strictly limited to essential reasons, smaller communities remained concerned about influxes of visitors from high-risk areas, and policy-makers wrestle with the “political hornet’s nest” of restricting travel between regions.

Weeden also spoke to CTV Kitchener about why health officials are concerned that people from higher-risk areas may travel to regions in lower tiers. She said better communication from the province could help stop region hopping, but individuals also need to be responsible for their actions and to stay home.

“…These restrictions are not so much restrictions as they are protections,” she said.

Weeden is currently coordinating the Rural Insights Series: COVID-19 for the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation and is involved in a variety of research related to future-oriented rural policy, rural infrastructure, and place-based approaches to rural development.