Don't self-isolate in cottage country, mayors warn
Published Monday, March 30, 2020 6:45AM EDT
KITCHENER -- Spring has some people wanting to self-isolate at the cottage, but mayors in these rural areas are urging Ontarians to stay home.
The crashing of the Lake Huron waves near Goderich typically draws thousands this time of year, but the town’s mayor wants you to know that self-isolation does not mean vacation.
“When we're talking about rural Ontario, you have to imagine that we don't have the capacity of larger cities and that goes from our grocery store to our pharmacies and especially to healthcare systems,” said Goderich Mayor John Grace.
He's urging residents to stay at home in their own towns, where resources are more equivalent to population.
“Our hospital is a small rural hospital and capacity is critical,” said Grace.
In Muskoka, the population typically triples when the weather warms and Musoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding says they have already seen in influx of seasonal residents.
“Before COVID-19 really hit and people understood the impacts, a number of people came up to Muskoka for their March break with their kids in the start and there's no question our grocery stores and some of our other supply chains, the systems were taxed,” he said.
He says travelers for the most part have gotten the message by now returning to their home town.
“I’ve been very clear in my messaging, if a seasonal resident is to happen to be in Muskoka or has come up to Muskoka, number one identify our food supply chain is limited, so if possible bring food and supplies with you,” said Harding.
Although cottage destinations don't want you to visit now, they welcome you as soon as the government says it's safe.
“Believe me, we want you to come back in the summer time, and in the fall and in the spring absolutely, but right now we don't have the capacity. We're trying to keep our numbers down for all the essential services,” said Grace.
The weather will only be getting more summer-like over the next few weeks and, although it's tempting to ditch the city, the message remains the same: just stay home.