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Premier Doug Ford announces provincial parks will be open for day use starting Monday

More than 500 parks and conservation reserves will be open on May 11

In Premier Ford’s daily COVID-19 update today, he announced a further development in the reopening of the province. Starting Monday, May 11, provincial parks and conservation reserves will be open to the public for day use.

“With Victoria Day around the corner, we have more good news to share today,” said Ford. “People will be able once again to enjoy the outdoors in one of our many beautiful parks and conservation reserves our province has to offer.”

The parks and reserves will be open for walking, hiking, biking and bird watching, but amenities such as camping facilities, playgrounds and beaches will remain closed.

“Public health measures must be followed at all times including practising physical distancing, avoiding social gatherings, and staying home if you’re sick. We’re trusting people to be responsible and take this seriously so they can enjoy themselves while staying safe and healthy,” said Ford.

The premier made the announcement alongside the minister of health Christine Elliot and the minister of the environment, conservation and parks Jeff Yurek.

Minister Yurek noted that 520 parks and conservation reserves will be open, and the remaining 115 parks will be open starting Friday, May 15. He also reminded Ontarians to avoid any unnecessary travel in the province.

“We also ask that you stay local. Ontarians should still be reducing the amount of unnecessary travel to other areas of the province. So if you’re planning to visit a provincial park, please only visit the one that is closest to your community,” said Yurek.

Parks staff are currently working to get these areas operational, but washrooms and drinkable water will not be available right away. So visitors to these parks and reserves should come prepared with hand sanitizer, water and any other supplies they may need.

“Over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks staff will be conducting critical maintenance and other park startup procedures so that more recreational activities and facilities will be available when it is safe to do so,” said Yurek. “In the meantime, I encourage everyone to enjoy all the beauty Ontario has to offer, safely and responsibly.”

Before heading out to a park, head to ontarioparks.com for details on what’s available.

Article exclusive to TRNTO