COVID-19 impacting outdoors community

by Editorial Staff | February 17, 2021
Disinfectant wipes on a tackle box.
Disinfectant wipes on a tackle box. (Photo by Jason Bain)

Editor’s note: Please check back regularly as many of these stories will be updated to reflect changes.

The global outbreak of novel coronavirus COVID-19 is having a tremendous impact on life around the world.

Our editorial team is bringing you the latest information on how the Ontario outdoors community is being affected by the pandemic. If you have information to share, please email us here.

Here are our latest COVID-19-related stories:

Rough times for some outfitters

Trent-Severn Waterway opens Friday

Tick surveillance suspended

Ontario whitetails test positive for COVID

Funding continues to aid northern businesses

In-person Toronto International Boat Show events cancelled for 2022

Great year for fur

Staycation tax credit welcome

Toronto Sportsmen’s Show planning return

Northern businesses get more than $26 million

COVID-19 antibodies found in wild US deer

Ammo supply still spotty

Tourism recovery funding offered

COVID-19 impacting lamprey control efforts

Deer group no longer in Canada

Orillia restricting boat launch and parking for non-residents

Ontario-based online hunter safety course coming

Canpar stops shipping firearms and ammo

Waterway to open Friday

Waterway opening delayed by pandemic

Pandemic fuels interest in hunting and fishing

Port Hope closes Ganaraska River lands

Fishing tackle and boat stock still low

Support in budget welcomed by tourism industry

Budget includes support for tourism

Ammunition shortage in Canada

2021 outdoors shows up in air

Park permit prices reduced

2021 Toronto Sportsmen’s Show cancelled

No delays with Outdoors Cards: MNRF

2021 Toronto International Boat Show cancelled

Northumberland County votes down fall turkey hunt

Ask a CO: How the pandemic has affected the work of a CO

Port Hope closes Ganaraska access, trails before salmon migration

Hunting during a pandemic

Ice fishing expo cancelled

Researchers surveying angler behaviour

Border closure hurting tourism operations

Fishing tackle sales surge

COVID-19 adds to process for mailing guns

Input sought on Ganaraska fishing

Firearms licence production delayed and restarted

OFAH calls for PAL extensions

Access to Cambridge-area lake closed

Hunter education moves online

Spring waterfowl surveys cancelled

Much of province to reopen

Deer groups merging

Free fishing in July extended

Boat sales spike

Canada Goose moves towards reclaimed fur

Toronto Sportsmen’s Show bought by Master Promotions

National fishing week returns July 4-12

Gun retailers hurt by COVID-19, new restrictions

Woodcock surveys halted

ICAST 2020 goes virtual

Ontario Parks to reopen gradually

Lamprey control affected by COVID-19

More camping returns

Sail closing two Ontario stores

Short-term rentals can reopen

SAIL files for bankruptcy

Backcountry camping returns

Evinrude brand discontinued

Waterway to open June 1

Ask an expert: Can fish transmit COVID-19?

Outdoor picnic sites reopen

Fire ban lifted

Gradual reopenings continue

Provincial parks reopening

Some boat ramps reopening

Marinas can re-open

Ask an expert: Can biting insects transmit COVID-19?

Pheasant hunt cancelled in Pelee

No changes to fishing: Premier

Derby cancelled over COVID-19

Waterway opening delayed by COVID-19

Crown land camping banned

Ministries temporarily exempt from 30-day consultation requirement

Are fishing and hunting seasons closed?

COVID-19 closures hurting outdoors business

Outdoor fires banned

Many boat ramps closed

Gun licence production halted

COVID-19 causes surge in gun, ammo sales

Teddy bear hunts gain popularity

Ontario Parks closed care of COVID-19

OFAH offers resources

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) has a list of frequently asked COVID-19-related questions and answers here and list of outdoors-related restrictions and closures here.

Read more outdoors news here

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  1. Robert Tremblay wrote: While practicing social distancing will I be able to hunt turkey in this 2020 spring season??
  2. Brent lajoie wrote: I don’t have my permitt for fishing do i need to get my permit or can i fish without it for now
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Hi Brent, At the moment, if you are between the ages of 18-65 years of age, you still need a permit to fish in Ontario. If not, any piece of provincially-issued ID will serve as your licence. There are also free fishing weekends (Mother’s Day Weekend in May [May 9-10, 2020], Father’s Day Weekend in June [June 20-21, 2020], and Family Fishing Week in July [July 4-12, 2020]. Do you have an Outdoors card? You can find more information here: Be sure to check back for any changes.
  3. jeffrey clark wrote: hunted and fished all of my life have seen the highs and the lows . one year.. seriously? stay home spend time with your family think about next year . it will be like high school.. first date.. a new car the wild will still be there and better .. .time isn't an option for wildlife and fish .it is for us .. I hope my grandkids will be able to have a structured outdoors life in the future for their sake and mine don't let testosterone affect sound judgement ..shut her down.....
  4. Jean luc wrote: If I put my boat at a marina can I bring my friend and family fishing if they don’t live in the same household
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Jean luc, the health recommendation at the moment remains maintaining six feet (2 metres) of physical distancing with anyone outside your household.
  5. doug mckenzie wrote: do you have to social distance (2 meters apart ) in a boat while fishing and can you fish with familly not living with you
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Doug, it's still recommended you physically distance yourself six feet (2 metres) apart from anyone outside your household.
  6. Claude Guevremont wrote: Hello Meghan, Ok, everybody knows that we have to observe physical distancing even in a boat. The question is are we allowed to do so with someone who does not live with you? And be legal with the restrictions being imposed now?. My boat is big enough so that we can be 10 feet apart at all times., but can we do it legally without getting a fine? That is the question everybody needs an answer to. Thank you.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Claude, of course you do so at your own risk.
  7. Dan wrote: Hello there, I seen on here before stating the crown land camping ban will be revoked as of May 29/20? is this still true? what’s the fine/charge if caught camping on crown land with a campfire before May 29th?please let me know as soon as possible. Thanks for your time and keep safe
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Dan, all camping remains closed until at least June 21st. You can find out update with a link to the Parks Canada page here:
  8. Winston Ing wrote: How do one social distancing on a fishing boat? We are think about going out salmon Lake Ontario on a 19 foot boat
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Winston, you can maintain physical distancing on a 19-foot boat. Just practise thorough hand-washing and ensure your party is in good health prior to departure.
  9. Jerry Zavodny wrote: Question. Can 2 people not from the same address fish from the same boat?
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Jerry, you are permitted to extend your social gathering bubble from 5-10 people at this time, but it is still good practice to maintain six feet of distance where at all possible, as well as following strict hand-washing procedures.
  10. Rick Egloff wrote: We are Americans fishing on the St Lawrence River in July 2020. can we buy Canadian fishing licenses and fish in Canadian waters? We would be launching our boat on the US side of the border.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Rick, please find some resources to more information on this page. If the phone lines are busy, we recommend sending an e-mail, as many offices are still working from home:
    • Jason Bain wrote: Here is a response from the MNRF, Rick. "Yes, normally you can! However, the Government of Canada has introduced border measures to limit the spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Canada, including the restriction of all discretionary travel into Canada. Crossing the border for recreation or tourism, including pleasure fishing, is currently prohibited. When these restrictions are lifted, and you start to plan your trip, please note that anyone who is not an Ontario or Canadian resident is considered a non-Canadian resident for the purposes of fishing licence regulations. Most non-Canadian residents require an Outdoors Card and Recreational Fishing Licence to fish in Ontario, including those 65 years of age or older. Please visit or call 1-800-387-7011 or 1-800-667-1940. It is important to note that anglers who fish in waters that lie both in Ontario and another province or state must include the total number of fish caught anywhere in those waters as part of the number caught and kept or possessed under the Ontario recreational fishing regulations when bringing those fish into Ontario. Finally, any foreign boater who passes through Canadian waters has to report to the Canada Border Services Agency unless they do so without mooring, landing, or anchoring on the Canadian side."
  11. William Williams wrote: Now that Ontario has brought in new rules due to COVID-19, what are the rules for ice fishing?. I fish with my cousin, who lives alone with his wife. I have done this for years even last winter when the pandemic hit. We are the only two at the shack and we practice social distancing and wear a mask when we can't. We sit almost 8' apart when in the 8'x6' shack wear masks only take them off to eat. No one else is with us at any time. Government rules are vague about this. Has anyone got information on this?. Appreciate any information. Bill
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: William, here's a resource the OFAH put together this week: It would seem if you are able to still observe physical distancing, and are outdoors, you may still fish with your cousin.
  12. Andrew Cormier wrote: I missed the Moose hunt this year because of knee issues,which resulted in me getting a Total knee Replacement on Nov.16/20. Then with all the commotion over the Covid-19 and Pandemic and lockdowns I have missed the Moose Hunt Reporting for that year.Will I still be able to buy a Moose Hunting Licence for season 2021.Totaly Stressed out