Not the first day of spring and with it comes grand closures due to coronavirus. In a sad but necessary move, the government of Ontario (Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Jeff Yurek, Minister of Conservation and Parks) announced today that all Ontario Parks will be closed from March 19th to April 30th due to COVID-19. It is pretty understandable considering the current situation and although you feel like you are in relative isolation camping out in the woods of a provincial park, the facilities are ultimately used by everyone. It would probably require additional resources keeping them maintained.
It is another strike against these things that we take for granted, especially as Ontarians who love the great outdoors. It is unfortunate for those who may have already booked or were considering it, but imagine if you were already at the park and asked to vacate (ouch). Because staff is, the CBC reports that ministry staff are required to go in and find those in backcountry and tell them to vacate. The announcement added:
“Current visitors to provincial parks will be required to vacate by March 19, 2020. Any person or group with a reservation for arrival up to April 30, 2020 will automatically be provided a full refund with no penalty.”
So, refunds will be made for either way. Although it is pretty off season this early into Spring, it’s sad to know that even if you wanted to escape to an Ontario park (trust me I thought about it) you cannot at this point. However, it is necessary, not only will you be saving lives but we will (hopefully) be salvaging the summer in the great outdoors at this point.