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What Ontarians need to know before going to the cottage this weekend

Thursday, May 20th 2021, 9:32 am - Victoria Day long weekend signals the start of summer, and for many, that means heading up to the cottage. But for the second year in a row, Ontarians are being reminded of some restrictions that are in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Canadians, the May 2-4 long weekend signals the start of summer — and cottage season. But for the second year in a row, thanks to the coronavirus, some restrictions are at play.

“This stay-at-home order is even more explicit than it even was last year," Terry Rees, Executive Director of Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Association, tells The Weather Network. "The province is saying, and we're echoing those sentiments, that to keep the pandemic in check, to stop the spread, we're meant to not be travelling except for most immediate needs, such as for work or medical attention, to shop or for outdoor exercise.”

The provincewide stay-at-home order is in place until at least June 2, meaning heading to your secondary residence this weekend could be a no-no.

Cottage Restrictions Graphic

You can travel to your secondary residence if you intend to be there for less than 24 hours (in order to perform one of the activities allowed under the stay-at-home order), or if you intend to be there for at least 14 days.

"I think the 24-hour thing is intended to be so you can conduct emergency repairs or that sort of thing,” explains Rees. “It's not really an out for you to bend the rules.

“If you're isolated at your cottage, you're meant to stay there for at least 14 days and bring all of your supplies with you. Really trying to minimize the interaction between different health zones and all of us doing our part to stop the spread.”

The province of Ontario has also enacted an order closing the land and water borders of Ontario with Quebec and Manitoba. The international border closure with the United States is also still in effect.

WATCH BELOW: HOW TO PUT OUT YOUR CAMPFIRE PROPERLY DURING WILDFIRE SEASON

RELATED: Three things you'll want to keep in mind this long weekend

Rees adds that the communities are missing the cottagers because of their support for the local economy, businesses and operations, like marinas, which are only open for repairs and boat launches.

“They are allowed to launch and release boats to people who can only get to their properties by the water.”

As for restaurants, they are only open for curbside pickup.

For more on the dos and don’ts surrounding cottage visits in Ontario this weekend, watch the video that leads this article.

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