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Peggy's Cove more picturesque without the tourists, but less lucrative
PEGGY'S COVE, N.S. -- On a beautiful summer day, tourists would normally be crawling all over the famous rocks at Peggy's Cove.
They come from near and far, but not this year. At least, not yet.
In some ways, Peggy's Cove remains as its always been -- a picturesque piece of Maritime heaven.
These days, though, the biggest thing missing from the visitor experience are the visitors themselves.
"It's quite bizarre," said Lisa Baker. "I expected it to be busier, just with locals, now that the children are off school, so it's a great time to come over."
Jeannette Richard likes it when there are fewer people.
"It's so different because there's not as many people and you can probably do more and just walk around and enjoy the view," she said.
Typically, it's one of the busiest destinations in the Atlantic region, but there are hardly any out-of-province or out-of-country visitors at the moment.
As it stands, those who do come from outside Nova Scotia would be required to isolate for two weeks before even attempting a trip a Peggy's Cove.
Longtime operators say they've never seen anything like it.
"We've had absolutely -- can almost say nobody -- in the cove compared to what we usually have," said tour boat operator Peter Richardson.
Richardson's popular tour boat will not sail this season; a lack of traffic and restrictions on group sizes mean it's simply not worth it.
There are changes, too, inside the Sou'Wester Restaurant, where many of the tables have been removed to accommodate public health guidelines.
The owner says business is down 60-to-70 per cent, but says he'll do what he can to hang on until things get better.
"I'll do what it takes because this is a family business," said John Campbell. "My dad started this in 1967, so I've got to keep it going somehow."
With the entire industry in crisis, regional officials are calling for long-term aid.
"Our industry was nearly entirely decimated overnight," said Steve Denty, the chair of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. "And now we stand at the onset of our busiest season, where the industry generates almost 40 per cent of its revenue."
So, for the moment, it's primarily Nova Scotians enjoying Nova Scotia's best-known destination -- a picturesque piece of Maritime heaven that's open for business – but with only the locals around to see it.
For now, operators will salvage what they can of the season, while at the same time looking forward to the fall, when millions of dollars in previously announced infrastructure spending will start pouring in.
Roadwork, washrooms, and traffic management are among the improvements at Peggy's Cove. Operators hope the crowds will be back to take advantage of those things in 2021.