Doug Ford tells Ontario not to go to the cottage for the May long weekend
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has modified his stance on city-dwellers travelling up to their cottages this May long weekend following a call with cottage country mayors.
In a statement released Thursday morning, Ford said visitors should "hold off" from going up to the country in a few weeks time as we continue to battle this virus.
This position is a slight change from what Ford told residents Tuesday when he said he wouldn't ban people from visiting their cottages during the Victoria Day weekend.
NEW: Premier Ford statement on cottage country asks “seasonal residents travelling to their cottages ... to practice social distancing.” He also asks “visitors” and “tourists” *not* to go to cottage country “until it is safe” #COVID19 Full statement: pic.twitter.com/fDXnZPJSh5— Mike Crawley (@CBCQueensPark) May 7, 2020
"With the Victoria Day long weekend and cottage season just around the corner, we need to stay vigilant," Ford said in the statement.
"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 added that cottage country residents are typically known for their hospitality and welcoming tourists, but this year they are asking people to help them fight the virus by holding off from travelling to these regions until it's safe to do so.
Mayors and residents of Ontario's cottage communities have previously expressed concerns over city-dwellers coming up the country and bringing the virus with them, all while depleting their resources and adding strain on their already struggling healthcare systems.
But despite Ford's new recommendation, there is currently no legal ban preventing people from going to their cottages in a few weeks time.
"I know Ontarians are eager to enjoy the great outdoors, but there will be plenty of long weekends to come," the statement continues.
"Right now, we need to focus on doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians. We're all in this together and together we will beat COVID-19."
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