COVID-19 impacting outdoors community

by Editorial Staff | August 31, 2020
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:

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


  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: