More Ontario Parks services will return, starting with beaches as maintenance and water testing is done, on Friday, June 12, the province announced on Wednesday, June 10.
While campgrounds, more washrooms, roofed accommodations, park store and rental operations, visitor centers, and sports fields will open slowly over next several weeks, other facilities such as showers, laundry, group camping, picnic shelter rentals, and swimming pools will remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season.
Bookings to return
Campers enrolled in this year’s Ontario Parks’ Seasonal Campsite Program will gain access to their sites as early as June 15, while all other campgrounds will reopen to bookings starting the week of June 22. That includes washrooms, water taps, and trailer sanitization stations.
The other services will be phased in slowly afterwards, officials stated in a release. Any reservations prior to June 22 will be automatically cancelled and refunded without penalty.
Visitors are encouraged to check OntarioParks.com to see what is open prior to visiting.
Not business as usual
“Due to the tremendous progress we have made to contain the spread of COVID-19, more services and activities will soon be available at our provincial parks,” Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister Jeff Yurek stated. “While this is encouraging, it is not business as usual. I encourage everyone to be responsible and continue to follow public health advice, including physical distancing, when enjoying our outdoor amenities.”
Ontario Parks will implement strategies to aid physical distancing, such as limiting occupancy via camping, vehicle permits, and day-use passes.
Areas may also be patrolled by local law enforcement, to ensure everyone follows public health advice. Ontario Parks will continue to be guided by this advice, and will adjust operations and protocols accordingly, officials stated.