Those hoping to escape to cottage country over the upcoming Victoria Day long weekend will have to rethink their plans now that Premier Doug Ford is saying all would-be visitors should stay home.
Premier Ford had previously said he had no “massive issue” with those heading to cottages over the May long weekend so long as they brought their own supplies. But after having a joint call with cottage country mayors on Wednesday, Ford has changed his stance.
While tourists are being asked to stay home, seasonal residents of cottage country are permitted to travel to their cottages as long as they continue to “practice the same public health measures as usual, including no public gatherings, avoiding nonessential travel as much as possible, and continue to practice social distancing,” Ford said in a statement Thursday morning.
“Cottage country residents are known for their hospitality and normally they would be welcoming tourists with open arms right now. This year, however, they are asking visitors to help them fight the spread of COVID-19 and hold-off travelling to these regions until it is safe to do so.”
Ford said he knows Ontarians are eager to enjoy the great outdoors and added “there will be plenty of long weekends to come.” “Right now, we need to focus on doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians.”
While there is no specific order prohibiting Ontarians from heading to cottage country for the long weekend, Ford said the mayors in the region are asking “visitors” to hold off on travelling to their communities for now.
This comes as Ontario continues to see daily COVID-19 case increases, with the province now recording 18,722 total cases since the outbreak began. At this time, slightly more than 70% of those cases are now resolved.