Private campgrounds across Ontario begin opening to visitors this weekend
TORONTO -- Private campgrounds across Ontario have been sitting empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that will no longer be the story come Friday.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford previously announced that there will be “more camping at Ontario parks and private campgrounds, as well as beach access” come June 12.
Before this, the only people allowed at these parks were those who live full-time in their RVs.
But, despite given the green light by the government, some campgrounds fear they will have a lot fewer visitors as it’s expected American and European travellers will stay closer to home this season.
“We've taken quite a hit. We've also lost 75 per cent of our future reservations right through to September,” Bill Richard at the Sault Ste. Marie KOA Holiday campground said.
However, Richard said he believes that after self-isolating many people may want to get back to nature.
“We are hoping that people can get out and enjoy the outdoors in a safe environment that works well for social distancing,” he said.
“Like any travel or hospitality business, COVID-19 has been very devastating, especially for our Canadian parks," Toby O’Rourke with Kampgrounds of America (KOA) said.
But, O’Rourke said KOA expects it's 525 locations across Canada and the U.S. to have a busy summer.
“Now we are just trying to get our campgrounds open and operating so people can regain some of that summer business,” O’Rourke said.
Not all parks are open for business, but as the entire country opens in stages it's expected most soon will be.
Campers must adhere to guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“You can't prevent Canadians from going outside when the weather is nice. You just have to help them do it safely,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
Any Ontario parks currently operating with restrictions will be reassessed this weekend.