How Ontario’s stay-at-home order will affect May long weekend plans

Published: May 17, 2021

May 24 Weekend Photo by Shutterstock/Alessandro Cancian

On May 13, the Ontario government announced that the province’s stay-at-home order would be extended until June 2. While this comes as no surprise, considering Ontario’s COVID-19 case numbers are still in the thousands, it does put a damper on people’s Victoria Day long weekend plans. For anyone looking to get some outdoor time, you may have to reschedule.

While there are no intra-provincial travel bans in place to prevent cottagers from visiting their properties, the Ontario government has asked that people only leave home for essential reasons. “If you have to go to the cottage to check on things, bring your own supplies and follow the rules,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford during a press conference on May 7.

Ford also stressed that the gathering limit is zero right now, meaning you shouldn’t be seeing anyone outside of your household, let alone inviting them to your cottage. “This isn’t going to be the typical May 2-4 weekend,” Ford said. “I’m asking you, please don’t bring a whole whack of people up. It’s not the party weekend it’s been in the past.”

Crown land and provincial parks remain closed for camping over the May long weekend. According to the provincial government’s website, campsites must be made available only for trailers and recreational vehicles that are used by individuals who are in need of housing or are permitted to be there by the terms of a full season contract.

If you booked a provincial park campground for the May long weekend, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP) said that the reservation will be automatically cancelled and you will receive a full refund with no penalty. The refund should appear on your credit card statement within 10 business days of the cancellation.

Otherwise, crown land and provincial parks are open for day use. This includes fishing, hiking, biking, canoeing, swimming, and other activities that don’t require an overnight stay.

Outdoor recreational amenities, however, are closed, such as sports fields and courts. This means pick-up games of volleyball, tennis, soccer, basketball, etc., are banned in government-operated facilities.

For outdoor activities to reopen by June 2, Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott said during the May 13 press conference that: “We do need to see an increase in the vaccination rate—and we’re well on track to vaccinate 65 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 18 by the end of May. But we also need to see lower numbers in the case rate, lower numbers of hospitalizations, and lower numbers in our intensive care units.”

According to the provincial government, 130,000 people are being vaccinated per day in Ontario. “If we stay the course for the next two weeks and continue vaccinating record numbers of Ontarians every day, we can begin looking forward to July and August, and having the summer that everyone deserves,” Ford said during the May 13 press conference.

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