doug ford cottage

People in Ontario can still go to their cottages for the holidays according to Doug Ford

Residents of Ontario have been asked for weeks to sequester themselves at home as much as possible and to avoid all trips save for those to get essential items, leaving many to wonder what the rules are for visiting their cottages and other secondary properties as we face the onset of the most drastic form of lockdown.

Officials and the general public alike have frowned upon the notorious region-hoppers who've been leaving parts of the province with tougher restrictions under our colour-coded reopening framework to go shopping and dine out in areas where things are more lax in recent weeks.

The blanket shutdown starting at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 26 will do away with the coloured zones and hopefully stop this trend, which is one that Premier Doug Ford said is at least partly responsible for infection spread and the resulting decision to lock down further.

"Unfortunately, despite the restrictions, we've seen growing numbers of people travelling between regions. COVID is spreading rapidly between high outbreak areas to areas with fewer cases," Ford said during a media briefing on Monday in which he also blamed high volumes of air travel and the federal government's lenience regarding incoming passengers for the state of the pandemic in Ontario.

But, as has been the case numerous times this year, messaging about citizens traveling between regions in which they own property has been mixed.

"Please don't leave your home unless it's necessary. Every time you leave you're putting people at risk, so during the holidays, hunker down," Ford told citizens during his presser on Tuesday. But, he had a caveat for cottage owners like himself.

"I've been getting endless calls from people [about their] secondary homes... that's fine, hunker down up there. If you want to stay in an isolated area at your secondary home and you aren't going to leave it — the rules apply up there — that's fine. Just do your best to hunker down."

He did stress the fact that anyone planning to travel to their secondary property in another region should definitely not be going into town to get food or other supplies, but should instead bring them in from their home region.

"We just don't want people going to stores every two hours everywhere, just do your best," he added.

It is also notable that these guidelines apply onto to those who own property in the province, as short-term rentals of cottages and cabins are strictly prohibited under the new measures unless they were booked before the latest lockdown announcement or are booked by those who are in need of housing.

Private indoor gatherings are also now banned across the board, so a trip to a friend or family member's secondary property is also out of the question, and residents are being asked to refrain from non-essential vacation travel.

Lead photo by

Becky Robertson

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