SUDBURY -- A hot tub or a pool is a key item for many Ontarians looking to have an ideal backyard oasis, but right now, they're hard to find.

Retailers across the region say they've been extremely busy playing catch-up to a COVID-fuelled spike in demand while dealing with supplier issues.

"It's been pretty crazy around here," said Craig Boyer, owner of Sunswim Pool Concepts and Design, which serves customers in Sudbury and North Bay. "With COVID-19 and the stay-at-home orders, everybody's been looking for recreation in the backyard. The beaches were closed, campsites were closed so everyone wanted to make their own oasis in their backyard."

Boyer said retailers across the region are dealing with a 35- to 40-per-cent increase in demand while some of his southern Ontario counterparts are seeing surges as high as 50 per cent.

"The unfortunate thing is a lot of above ground pools are made in Quebec," he said. "They got hit pretty hard and pretty quick, so supply was almost instantaneously shut off. So if you didn't order a large amount of pools, then you could be left without a supply for your customers."

Boyer said the supply issue has led to other difficulties, such as getting minor parts for pools and hot tubs.

They're now turning their attention to next year. He says 2021 is already filling up.

It's a similar story at other shops CTV spoke with in North Bay and Sudbury who tell us they've been extremely busy trying to deal with demand.

One retailer added hot tubs and pools are quickly becoming the new "toilet paper" of this pandemic.

David Kennedy, owner of Northern Spa Services, said he's never seen it so busy in his 22 years in the industry.

"I'm not totally surprised," Kennedy said. "I expected just the fact that people are at home and people that do have hot tubs, they have the time because they're at home to make sure they're running properly and also to enjoy their hot tub."

He said many people are now turning to used options due to the lack of new supply.