SUDBURY -- The tourism sector continues to be damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With admission numbers plummeting because of reduced hours and COVID-19 restrictions, Science North said Friday it had to issue 22 temporary lay off notices.

"We were closed for almost 3 1/2 months, reopened on July 4," said Guy Labine, CEO of Science North. "Normally in the summertime, we would see close to 50,000 people, and we saw 8,400 people in that same period compared to last year."

Revenue from the science centre's food and retail sales make up 67 per cent of its overall budget, Labine said.

Despite receiving COVID-19 relief funding this summer from the provincial and federal governments, the science centre said much of that was for operational costs and for expansion plans at Dynamic Earth.

Even with that help, times are tough.

"Every science centre in North America, every museum, is going through the same challenge," Labine said. "In fact many of our colleagues in other parts of North America had to make these difficult decisions much earlier in the pandemic. We were able to delay that really with additional funding we received and work that we had."

The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce said Friday the pandemic continues to hit the tourism, restaurant and hospitality sectors hard and a second wave could cost more jobs.

"A second wave can have serious impacts on businesses -- in fact some might not survive," said Cora DeMarco the chair of the chamber's board of directors. "We know for sure that supporting local is a recipe for success in helping to stimulate the economy."

Labine said the organization is being proactive by diversifying and pursuing additional funding, new forms of revenue and new programming to adjust to the challenging times.