Premier Doug Ford has clarified the province’s stance on cottage country travel during the Victoria Day long weekend. The premier addressed two different groups, owners and visitors. Ford is asking cottage-owners to practicing social distancing and those just wanting to visit cottage country to stay home.
Ford’s updated statement on Thursday morning comes after the premier spoke to cottage country mayors on Wednesday.
“We are still battling a terrible virus, so we are asking seasonal residents travelling to their cottages 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.
“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.”
The premier said earlier this week there’s only so long he can “hold back taxpayers from cottages.” Ford said “in Muskoka, the vast majority of taxes are paid through cottagers.”
Health officials have been warning Ontarians to avoid their cottages during the COVID-19 pandemic after local mayors said their supplies at grocery stores wouldn’t be able to handle the influx of customers.