Aylmer, Ont. coping with COVID-19 spike as community turns economic page
Aylmer residents are coping with a recent rise in COVID-19 case numbers.
As of Thursday, there are 20 active cases in the town, down two from Wednesday.
That represents over 25 per cent of all cases in Elgin and Oxford counties.
It's a hard figure to take in for residents still looking to recover the national attention the community has received during the pandemic.
“Naturally it’s concerning for all the citizens of the town. It’s a lovely little town, and we’d like to get life back to normal as soon as possible,” Louise Weverink tells CTV News London.
Her thoughts are echoed by Kevin Cross. He and his wife have owned Durkee’s Clothing store on Aylmer’s Main Street for 20 years.
Cross is also the chair of the Aylmer BIA.
“The blips are frustrating, but we also recognize with school coming back numbers are going to go up and things can happen.”
Kim and Kevin Cross, owners of Durkee's in Aylmer, Ont. speak on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Sean Irvine / CTV News)
But something else is happening in Aylmer’s downtown, Cross says people are coming back, especially local ones.
Cross says that has kept most stores open while businesses in neighbouring communties struggle.
“It seems like if we do lose something another business pops up.”
But while the local people are returning, Cross acknowledges he has seen few visitors from outside the region.
But, CTV News London spotted Ken and Debbie Baker eating at a local cafe.
The pair have a trailer at Port Bruce, but live full-time in the Greater Toronto Area.
Ken admit the couple has limited their visits to Aylmer during the pandemic .
“I’ll be quite honest we are very leery of where we go when we are down here. Obviously we are sitting outside today, when we could be sitting inside.”
Debbie and Ken Baker are seen at a cafe in Aylmer, Ont. on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. They call the GTA home. (Sean Irvine / CTV News)
But while that’s true, the Baker’s also exclaim their love for Aylmer’s core. They love seeing all the stores full with unique shops and window displays.
“It’s a very vibrant town, very welcoming, and the people here are always so kind and pleasant to us when we come.”
And if only COVID-19 would ease, those CTV News London spoke with are confident the good times will roll again in Aylmer.
But it will take a community change of heart, according to the Louise and her husband, Hank Weverink.
“You've got to do what you've got to do to get rid of this stuff. You got to just go by the rules and that will get rid of it, I’m sure,” states Hank.
“People need to be concerned about people’s welfare and not just their own rights, and that’s my opinion,” concludes Louise.
CTV News London reached out to the mayor of Aylmer, Mary French, for comment on this story. A town spokesperson indicated she was unavailable for a midday interview.
A representative for the area medical officer of health, Joyce Lock, also indicated she was unavailable for interviews Thursday.