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Lake Simcoe municipalities discourage day trips to the area: ‘Now is not the time’

Click to play video: 'Ontario government asks cottage dwellers to hold off on long weekend trips' Ontario government asks cottage dwellers to hold off on long weekend trips
Ontario Premier Doug Ford urged cottage owners to rethink their long weekend plans. Shallima Maharaj explains – May 7, 2020

Municipalities surrounding Lake Simcoe in Ontario are discouraging all non-essential travel to the region, including same-day day trips, as the province continues to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The County of Simcoe strongly encourages residents to follow public health guidelines and avoid unnecessary travel of any kind,” Simcoe County Warden George Cornell said in a statement.

“As our communities and economy begin the guided process of reopening, it’s vital that we take a cautious approach, avoid gatherings, stay home as much as possible in our primary residence and do all we can to support our recovery.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Can I visit my Ontario cottage on the May long weekend?

In addition to Simcoe County, the municipalities of Orillia, Georgina, Innisfil, Bradford, Brock, Oro-Medonte and Ramara, Ont., are urging people not to travel to the area for non-essential day trips.

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“While making the journey might seem harmless, it could heighten the chances of both spreading and contracting COVID-19 — especially when stopping for gas or food during the trip,” the municipalities say.

“Those deciding to forgo warnings and take the trip will be disappointed to find that the outdoor amenities they were looking forward to are not available during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Under Ontario’s coronavirus emergency order, access to outdoor recreational amenities, like playgrounds or picnic sites, are closed or restricted until further notice. There may also be local closures or restrictions of beaches and boat ramps.

“The municipalities surrounding Lake Simcoe are beautiful places to visit, but now is not the time,” the municipalities say.

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Getting ready for cottagers in North Kawartha – May 8, 2020

The municipalities are asking those want to visit the Lake Simcoe area from out of town to consider the effects it could have on other communities, services and health-care networks.

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“In our efforts to protect the health of residents and visitors, we are asking those planning a day trip to put their visit on hold for now,” Georgina Mayor Margaret Quirk said in a statement.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Doug Ford visited cottage despite pleas for Ontario residents to stay home

“We certainly understand that people want to get outside, but driving here now with your family, with everything closed, including our restrooms, it’s just not worth the trip.”

If people choose to travel to the Lake Simcoe region anyways, the municipalities say people should bring the supplies that they need with them.

Any visitors and seasonal residents are also asked to practice physical distancing and self-isolation as required.

“To limit the spread of COVID-19, the premier encourages people visiting their cottages to follow the advice and guidance of Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, stock up on supplies needed before heading to cottage county and go directly to their properties without stopping en route in other municipalities,” Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes said in a statement.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Ford tells cottagers May long weekend ‘not the party weekend it’s been in the past’' Coronavirus outbreak: Ford tells cottagers May long weekend ‘not the party weekend it’s been in the past’
Coronavirus outbreak: Ford tells cottagers May long weekend ‘not the party weekend it’s been in the past’ – May 7, 2020

As public spaces start to gradually reopen across Ontario, the Lake Simcoe area municipalities say it will “take time” for them to accelerate their operations.

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“Once it is safe to do so, we all will be able to enjoy our beautiful lakefront once again,” Quirk added.

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