prince edward county beach

Prince Edward County really doesn't want people from Toronto to visit

Throughout Ontario's staggered reopening process, people from regions of the province that have been permitted to resume some operations earlier than urban centres like Toronto have not exactly been thrilled about the prospect of city dwellers coming into their towns to take advantage of the businesses we're not yet able to visit downtown.

And even with Toronto finally entering into Stage 3 of reopening on Friday after weeks of being held back like a scolded child due to its COVID-19 stats, it seems that outlying areas are still asking people from the big city to keep away.

As a popular tourist destination, Prince Edward County is ostensibly struggling more than usual after months of lockdown restrictions — but its mayor is still urging Torontonians and other potential visitors to stay home this long weekend.

Mayor Steve Ferguson posted a four-minute video to social media on July 29 saying that out-of-towners looking for a quick getaway have been overrunning the municipality's roads, outdoor spaces, businesses and amenities, especially its beaches, which have in recent days seen people lining up in their cars for hours for a chance to hit the sand, leading to closures early in the day as capacities are maxed.

"If you're thinking of taking a trip to the county this civic holiday weekend, please consider coming another time," Ferguson said, adding that accommodations are already strained. "This is not the weekend to visit the county on a whim."

Little Bluff Conservation Area and Sandbanks Provincial Park are among the attractions that have been severely overcrowded lately.

Ferguson asks would-be visitors to instead plan a mid-week or fall trip to the area, saying that what he's seen in the past few weeks is "not the experience we want you to have" and that he "guarantee[s] you'll have a better time with us" if you come off-season.

Wasaga Beach, also a hot summer spot for Torontonians, likewise began telling people not to come through last month, and ended up having to close the beach and fine guests when things became unmanageable on Canada Day.

This was all while travelers from Toronto were being blamed for a COVID-19 outbreak in nearby Kingston and implored not to frequent cottage country this summer.

Toronto beaches, meanwhile, have also been completely packed, with Mayor John Tory advising residents to find some alternative ways to enjoy the outdoors while the threat of the virus still looms.

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