Two months after it declared a state of local emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian mountain town of Banff has re-opened to visitors. Its mayor, Karen Sorenson, says that it is prepared for social distancing, but has asked visitors to bring their own masks and sanitizer.

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
Moraine Lake in Banff National Park © Alexander Howard/Lonely Planet

The largest metropolis in the entire area surrounding Banff National Park, Banff is a resort town with boutique shops, nightclubs, museums and restaurants. It has a population of less than 10,000 people, and it developed as a service centre for the national park and attracts hordes of visitors annually. They are usually keen to commune with its shops as much as nature, alongside artists and writers drawn to the Rockies' unparalleled majesty.

Downtown Streets of Banff National Park Canada
Banff has boutique shops, nightclubs, museums and restaurants © Spondylolithesis/Getty Images

Back in mid-March, and in keeping with similar measures being taken worldwide, Banff imposed restrictions on local businesses and organizations. It declared a local state of emergency and limited the number of visitors to the community. Now with restrictions beginning to ease, the town is back in business, although not every hotel and shop is open and Banff National Park won’t have services available until early June.”

“Looking further down the road as to what tourism will look like, more than 50% of our visitors come from outside of Canada," Karen Sorenson told Global News Morning Calgary. "So regardless of the fact that we are welcoming people, it’s going to be a very different Banff this summer. It’s going to look different and it might feel different - but it’s still going to be awe-inspiring.”

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

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