As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, businesses and services across Ontario are temporarily shutting down. The Government of Ontario has just announced that all Ontario provincial parks are closed immediately from March 19 to April 30. Services such as camping and access to public buildings will be suspended for the time being. 

Any current visitors who are in one of Ontario's parks will be required to vacate by today, March 19, according to the news release. Anyone who has already made reservations for this timeframe will receive a full refund with no penalty.

These penalty-free refunds will automatically be applied to all reservations, so you don't have to cancel your booking. 

In fact, Ontario Parks is asking guests not to cancel on their own online, as this may result in an automatic penalty through the website. 

Under this closure, a variety of services will be cancelled until further notice.  "This includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day-use opportunities and all public buildings," the release says.

According to Global News, Ontario Parks staff will post signs at entrances to let people know about the closures. They will also be getting in touch with people who are already camping and may not be aware of the new developments. 

Park entrances will be gated where possible, Global News reports. 

"We understand that spending time in nature is important for the health and well-being of Ontarians," spokesperson Andrew Buttigieg told CTV News

"However, in order to assist the province to further efforts in keeping employees and Ontarians safe during this time, the ministry made the decision to close provincial parks to the public."

Ontario isn't the only one closing its parks to stop the spread of the virus. All national parks will also be closed for over a month as the entire country makes adjustments. 

So far in Ontario, services such as restaurants, theatres and clubs have been forced to shut down across the province. 

Schools, universities, and even university residences have all shut their doors due to the pandemic. 

According to the Government of Canada, there are currently 214 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario as well as 690 cases throughout the country as of Thursday morning. 

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