After all Ontario provincial parks were closed late last month in an effort to battle the spread of coronavirus, the provincial government announced on Saturday that the closures will remain in effect right through until the end of May, as the pandemic continues.
“In order to keep Ontarians safe during this COVID-19 outbreak, our government is extending the closure of Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves to May 31, 2020,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks in a joint statement.
This, they said, “includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day use opportunities, access points and all public buildings.”
Provincial parks and conservation reserves will also remain fully closed to all recreational activities.
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The province said reservations for arrivals up to, and including, any further closure extension date will be automatically cancelled and reservation holders will receive a full refund with no penalty. Penalty-free refunds to reservation holders who wish to change or cancel their 2020 camping reservation, regardless of arrival date are also being offered.
In their statement, the ministers said they “understand this extension may impact many Ontarians’ plans during the month of May.”
However, “the health and well-being of Ontarians is our government’s number one priority,” they added. “Although we are making progress to stop the spread, the virus has not yet been contained.”
As a result, “all but essential service workers must continue to stay at home and practice physical distancing.”