Ontario provincial parks to remain closed until end of May
People canoe in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ont., Canada, in this file photo. (CP Photo / HO, Ontario Tourism 2005)
TORONTO -- Ontario provincial parks and conservation areas will remain closed until the end of next month as the battle to curb the spread of COVID-19 continues.
The parks were shuttered in mid-March and were originally slated to reopen on April 30. Where possible, park entrances were gated or locked.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the provincial government said the closure will extend until to May 31 as “the virus has not yet been contained.”
All car and backcountry camping, as well as the use of public buildings or roofed accommodations, will be prohibited. Residents will no longer be able to use the parks for recreational activities or day-use.
All camp site reservations up to that date will be cancelled and residents will be provided with a full refund, officials said. The province also said that anyone who wants to change their 2020 camping plans, regardless of the date, will be able to do so without penalty.
“We understand this extension may impact many Ontarians' plans during the month of May,” the statement said. “However, the health and well-being of Ontarians is our government's number one priority.”
Ontario’s emergency measures also ban any camping on unincorporated Crown lands.