The mayor of Prince Edward County in southeastern Ontario is pleading with tourists who do not have accommodations already booked, not to come to the region for the August long weekend.
“This is not the weekend to visit the county on a whim,” Mayor Steve Ferguson said in a video sent out Wednesday evening.
Ferguson said that the county is usually busy this time of year, but during the novel coronavirus pandemic, with the county being in Stage 3 before other regions like the Greater Toronto Area, the region has seen a huge influx of day-trippers.
“Add in these new variables and we’re seeing a major strain on our beaches, outdoor spaces, roads and amenities,” Ferguson said.
In particular, Sandbanks Provincial Park has been seeing extremely high turnout, with people having to be turned away early on in the day because their beaches are at capacity.
Despite the Toronto-area moving into Stage 3 on Friday, Ferguson said county officials are expecting the region to be packed for the long weekend.
“This weekend is both the long weekend and the end of the annual construction holiday in Quebec, which has filled almost all of our accommodations,” Ferguson said.
He said because so many people are trying to visit beaches, many of whom are being turned away, there has been serious gridlock on county roads.
Ferguson also said that the Little Bluff Conservation Area will not be open this weekend because of overcrowding issues.
“The county is a welcoming place and we pride ourselves on our hospitality and providing unique, relaxing and memorable experiences. We guarantee you’ll have a better time with us if you plan a midweek visit, a visit later in the season or fall, or better yet, plan an overnight stay in the coming months so you can explore beyond the beach,” Ferguson said.
The mayor suggested for those who already have accommodations booked in the county to check the Sandbanks Provincial Parks Twitter page to see when the park reaches capacity, and for those planning visits at municipal beaches to check the county’s Facebook page.
More to come.