Premier Ford says he can only ‘hold back taxpayers’ from their cottages for so long

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will speak to mayors in ‘cottage country’ this week about when cottagers will be welcome to return to their summer homes.

“There’s only so long I can hold back taxpayers from cottages,” said Ford during his media briefing Monday at Queen’s Park. “In Muskoka, the vast majority of taxes are paid through cottagers.”

Ford also spoke about retail stores in cottage country relying on cottagers. “There is only so long I can hold the big gates back from these people. They’re going to want to go to their vacation property.”

Health officials have been warning Ontarians to avoid their cottages during the pandemic after local mayors said their supplies at grocery stores wouldn’t be able to handle the influx of customers.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam was one of those voices advising people not to head to their cottages.

There’s been a long list of calls for tourists and cottagers to stay away from small towns during the pandemic.

Collingwood Mayor Brian Saunderso
Collingwood Mayor Brian Saunderson is one of the many Mayors who warned people to “stay away” during pandemic

Muskoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding warned there was definitely a super short strain on their food supply.

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith posted a video to Facebook where he reminded everyone that the amount of care that can be provided in their small, community hospital is limited.

“This not summertime in Muskoka,” said Smith.

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A similar message posted publicly to Facebook by Keith Dyke, a doctor practising north of Kincardine. He urged people not to just say home, but stay in their hometown.

Collingwood Mayor Brian Saunderson had warned anyone planning a trip to the town to “stay at home.” He said the tourist community is “shut-down.”