The people of Cochrane are on the horns of a lockdown dilemma.

A handful of the few Ontario snowmobile trails that are open are in their back yard.  And as Mayor Denis Clement and many of his townspeople are noticing, dozens of snowmobiles are parked outside local motels at night.  He says it’s a safe assumption that the sledders are from COVID-19 hotspots down south, but are spending money on accommodations and take-out food.

“That’s the Catch-22 of this whole situation,” Clement remarks.

The mayor adds that the motel operators and all other Cochrane businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. “We as a community rely heavily on the snowmobile industry from Christmastime ‘til March. To have that shut down completely is devastating.”

Clement adds that even if he wanted to he has no legislative authority to close the trails or the motels. So he’s left watching this situation unfold, hoping it doesn’t cause a spike in positive coronavirus tests.

“The message that I would give to the snowmobilers is to please be cautious, do not wander around the community and follow the social distancing as much as possible,” Clement pleads. “When you come back to the motels, hopefully they do not gather and they just stay within their group and stay within their room.”