It appears that Doug Ford might've given cottage-goers a little too much hope about the Victoria Day long weekend on Monday. The Ontario leader, who hinted earlier this week that residents could be heading to their cottages during the long weekend, appears to be backpedalling on that statement. Ford is now stating that there are other weekends to head up north and that you should only be travelling for essential reasons.
While Ontario has seen some hopeful news over the past few weeks, the premier is reminding residents of the importance of Ontario sticking together in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
After a meeting with the cottage country mayors, Ford is now reminding residents that they should only be travelling for essential reasons.
If people do choose to go to their cottages over the long weekend, they should continue to practice social distancing measures.
"While Ontario is vast and regions are facing the challenges of COVID-19 differently, it is more important than ever that we stick together and fight COVID-19 as one team," Ford said in the statement, which was emailed to Narcity.
Ford then highlighted the dangers of travelling to cottage country in the wake of the pandemic, while encouraging seasonal residents to practice proper social distancing measures.
"With the Victoria Day long weekend and cottage season just around the corner, we need to stay vigilant."
"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 warned.
It's worth noting that Ontario has yet to put any restrictions on cottage travel, so there are currently no legal ramifications for heading up north.
However, Ford did mention that visitors are being discouraged by country cottage mayors and locals alike.
"Cottage country residents are known for their hospitality, and normally they would be welcoming tourists with open arms right now. This year, however, they are asking visitors to help them fight the spread of COVID-19 and hold-off travelling to these regions until it is safe to do so," he added.
Ford concluded his statement by asking residents to be patient and assuring them that there would be "plenty of long weekends to come."
Earlier this week, the premier hinted at the possibility of travelling up north for the May holiday weekend, as long as people did their part and planned ahead.
However, it seems that after meeting with other mayors, the premier is urging Ontarians not to.
This doesn't mean that you can't go out and enjoy the weather, though. Ford confirmed that Toronto and Ontario residents alike will be able to get outside on May 24 weekend, while maintaining social distance, of course.