Muskoka's Deerhurst Resort reopens for ‘busy as ever’ summer in 2020
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Deerhurst reopens in 2020
Jesse Hamilton (right), general manager for Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, and his fellow resort colleagues say they are preparing for a busy summer season. June 25, 2020. - Alison Brownlee/Torstar

One of Huntsville’s largest employers has reopened – and is feeling optimistic.

“Based on what we have seen, in terms of demand, reservations being made and inquiries, I’m quite confident,” said Jesse Hamilton, general manager for Deerhurst Resort. “This summer, from a leisure booking standpoint, I think we’re going to be as busy as we’ve ever been.”

The resort, located at 1235 Deerhurst Drive in Huntsville, temporarily shuttered on March 16 as concern about the COVID-19 pandemic spread at home and abroad.

The voluntary decision, said Hamilton, not only took an anticipated drop in demand into consideration, but also provincial, federal and public health recommendations, especially as officials were warning against non-essential travel.

The resort had initially anticipated a 45-day closure.

There were 320 full-time and part-time staff on schedule before the closure.

Within two weeks, the resort was down to 12 staff, said Hamilton.

He said the main focus during the closure was getting people back to work.

The federal wage subsidy, he said, was one reason the resort was able to reopen and rehire staff as soon as it did.

The resort reopened on June 12, with modified services, after an 88-day closure.

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