The Ontario government has introduced further restrictions on the types of businesses that can remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to further reduce contact between people and stop the spread, the list of essential businesses was updated on April 3. Marinas are one of the businesses on the list that are limited to only allowing people to access their primary place of residence.
Ontario marinas are now closed to seasonal residents and people are asked to stay away from cottages to avoid stressing local resources. Fire restrictions are also in place to not overwhelm emergency responders. Please stay home to stay safe! Read more: https://t.co/x94FW9O7v9
— GeorgianBayAssoc (@GBayAssociation) April 6, 2020
Boat launches and out of storage are also affected by the restrictions, although it appears to vary from township to township. Muskoka Marinas announced on Twitter that they have closed all of their facilities and services in response to the province’s update. Meanwhile, Rideau Lakes Township has closed all public boat launches, docks, and harbours.
Despite the orders to stay away, MacDonald Turkey Point Marina was reporting people crawling under barriers and walking out onto the pier.
Cottagers like Rena Bennett are unable to access their cottages during this time as they are water-access only.
“We know that staying at home is the right thing to do and we will stay as long as we have to,” says Bennett. “We hope that other cottagers (not just water-access cottagers) realize that driving from home to the cottage without stopping still potentially contributes to moving the virus around. This will only be a one-time difficult sacrifice if we do it properly now.”
Muskoka Marinas facilities are now closed and all services suspended due to the recently modified COVID-19 Essential Services List. This includes all launches and out of storage.
We ask everyone to be patient, most of all be safe and to be thankful and care for the ones you love. pic.twitter.com/Xyo8NhnlO3
— MuskokaMarinas (@MuskokaMarinas) April 6, 2020
“Everyone must do their part to stop the spread and flatten the curve. If you are not an essential business, you need to close your doors, work from home if possible and play a role to help contain this outbreak. This is a matter of life and death,” said Premier Doug Ford.
He also introduced sweeping fire bans across the province, as health services are unable to handle additional emergency calls.
@RLTwp Effective immediately, all Township owned public boat launches, harbours &docks r CLOSED. In response to updated Provincial Emerg. Order& ensures these public assets r addressed in a like manner to private marinas (which were required to be closed as of Saturday midnight).
— RideauLakesFire (@RideauLakesFire) April 7, 2020
The closures and restrictions will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves.