Joe Bailey lost over $225,000 worth of tour bookings once the novel coronavirus pandemic hit.

Bailey runs Indigenous-owned and operated North Star Adventures, a Yellowknife-based tour company that offers Aurora sighting, fishing, boating and hiking tours, among others.

As news began to spread about the virus in January, he took a proactive approach and started screening bookings from high-risk countries with reported cases before official lockdown measures were in place. About 60 per cent of Bailey’s clients are from abroad, he says.

“We were doing a lot of cancellations and a lot of refunds,” he told Global News.

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“We have a small population in Northwest Territories, so to have one (COVID-19) case here is magnified more than in a place with a larger centre.”

By March 1, Bailey says he had limited bookings to only travellers from the U.S. and Canada, but by March 17, he had shut down tours completely and had to lay off his 15-person staff.

“It’s my business, so I’m the only one that’s here right now, just trying to keep it going,