Good weather to get outdoors, with caution

By MPP Toby Barrett  

I continue to receive questions about the Stay-At-Home order resulting from Coronavirus caseload increases across Ontario.  

With spring upon us, many questions have been raised about marinas and boat ramps. Here are some answers we received from government ministries. Due to the changing nature of the variants and vaccine availability, this information may change. Please note the local health unit and/or the municipality may be imposing restrictions above and beyond those of the province.  

With appropriate health and physical distancing safeguards in place, marinas, boat clubs, yacht clubs and boat launches are permitted to open under Ontario’s stay-at-home order. Municipal boat launches that are not part of a marina are not required to be closed. However, municipalities may still choose to close boat launches. Further, business owners may have additional restrictions. Information for businesses is at 1-855-216-3090.  

Recreational boating is permitted and boaters can have full access to their vessel. With appropriate health and physical distancing safeguards, marinas and boat clubs can operate a grocery or convenience store on the premises and can provide fuel, watercraft repair servicing, docking and launching. Restaurants, clubhouses, pools, meeting rooms, fitness centres and other similar recreational facilities on the premises must remain closed to the public, although restaurants can offer take-out, and delivery service. Washrooms and first aid facilities may remain open.  

Similarly, trailer parks can be open, but with restrictions. For example:   

• Campsites must be made available only for trailers and recreational vehicles that are used by individuals who are in need of housing, or are permitted to be there by the terms of a full season contract  

•  Only campsites with electricity, water service and facilities for sewage disposal may be provided for use.  

• All recreational facilities in the campground and all other shared facilities in the campground, other than washrooms and showers, must be closed.  

• Other areas of the seasonal campground must be closed to the general public and must only be opened for the purpose of preparing the seasonal campground for reopening.   

The Ontario Government recognizes the use of outdoor recreational amenities where individuals can physically distance, such as golf courses, parks and recreational areas and trails provide important opportunities for individuals and families to exercise. That is why these remain open subject to restrictions.   

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, Ontario Parks are temporarily closing campground and backcountry campsites and roofed accommodations, such as cabins, yurts and cottages until further notice. Further decisions on when camping will resume have not yet been made.  

Outdoor garden centres and plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public, can operate with a 25 per cent capacity limit and a restriction on hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Hardware stores face the same restrictions as most other retail, with in-person shopping prohibited. Curbside pick-up or delivery is permitted until 9:00 p.m. However, garden centres attached to big box stores and hardware stores can operate with the same restrictions as standalone garden centres.  

If you do engage in fishing or hunting, please do so close to home, and only with members of your household. The province is not suspending license issuing.  

There is no emergency order that restricts access to cottages or secondary residences. Check with your municipality for local rules.  

More details: or  

Toby Barrett is MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk.