COVID-19 Updates from FOCA

Province of Ontario’s official COVID-19 pages, and COVID-19 public health measures and advice

Canada’s COVID-19 pages

Seeking to enter Canada to reach your cottage property? Find out if you can travel to Canada (Government of Canada)

Current News:

January 3, 2022 – Full list of Ontario COVID-19 restrictions for starting Jan. 5 (CTV News)

Friday, December 31, 2021 – Quebec has no plans to restrict travel at Ottawa-Gatineau crossings as COVID cases rise (CTV News)

November 12, 2021 – COVID-19 case counts rising in most Ontario public health unitswinter months ahead will require “continued vigilance” (CBC)

November 8, 2021 – U.S. eases COVID-19 restrictions at land border for fully vaccinated Canadians (CP)

October 26, 2021 – The U.S./Canada land border is re-opening: Here’s what that means (The Concordian)

October 22, 2021 – Ontario’s latest COVID plan is cautious, smart and hopeful (Flamborough Review)

August 25, 2021 – Not true that Ontario plans to implement vaccine certificates, province says (CBC News)

August 22, 2021 – Why Barry’s Bay could be ‘the perfect incubation box’ — an example of a small town’s vulnerability to the Delta variant (Toronto Star)

COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders – August 9, 2021: Border changes (Government of Canada)

August 9, 2021 – ‘Let’s get this thing going’: Canada opens border to fully vaccinated Americans for travel (USA TODAY)

August 7, 2021 – New travel rules affecting Canadians and visitors take effect Monday (Aug. 9) The federal government’s eased border restrictions are set to take effect on Monday – meaning that for the first time since March 2020, travellers from the U.S. will be allowed to enter Canada for non-essential purposes.

July 19, 2021 – Government of Canada announces easing of border measures for fully vaccinated travellers – American citizens & permanent residents of the U.S. who meet specific criteria to qualify as fully vaccinated may enter effective August 9; it is also intended that all other foreign nationals who qualify as fully vaccinated will be able to enter Canada starting September 7. Related media coverage:

July 19, 2021 – Canada to open border for vaccinated Americans starting August 9 (The Hill)

July 15, 2021 – Canada may allow fully vaccinated Americans into the country by mid-August: Trudeau (CTV)

July 14, 2021 – COVID-19 cases are rising in the United States. Will this impact Canada’s border reopening? (Global News)

July 14, 2021 – Trudeau stresses caution after state legislators demand immediate U.S.-Canada border reopening (Politico)

July 13, 2021 – Canadian government mum on timeline for U.S. cottage owners to return (Cottage Life)

July 9, 2021 – COVID-19 Ontario Step 3 reopening rules: This is what you can and can’t do starting July 16 (Yahoo News)

June 28, 2021 – Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations asking for clarity on Canada-US border status (, and June 29, 2021 in

June 24, 2021 – On June 30 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario will move to Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen (Government of Ontario)

June 23, 2021 – Canada racing toward key milestone for U.S. border reopening (Toronto Star)

June 23, 2021 – Ford, cabinet considering moving Ontario into next phase of COVID-19 reopening 2 days early. Ontario has already surpassed its Phase 3 vaccination targets (CBC News)

June 22, 2021 – Trudeau says border restrictions will be further relaxed ‘in the coming weeks’ if all goes well  ‘It depends on the vaccination rate, the COVID situation, the variants of concern‘ (CBC News)

June 21, 2021 – Canada’s phased border reopening to begin July 5. Foreigners will still have to wait (Politico)

June 18, 2021 – U.S. border restrictions extended to July 21, PM cites desire to stick to vaccine targets (CTV News)

June 18, 2021 – Canada extending restrictions on non-essential international travel until July 21 (City News)

June 14, 2021 – Manitoba/Ontario border to reopen Wednesday [i.e., June 16, 2021] (CTV News – Winnipeg)

June 14, 2021 – New York congressman says Canada-U.S. border should reopen immediately  (CTV News)

June 7, 2021 – Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations reminds seasonal residents to follow health guidelines (

June 7, 2021 – Canada eyeing multi-stage approach to reopening the border to travellers (CBC)

image: asterix button

June 4, 2021 – FOCA has written to both the Province of Ontario and the Federal government asking for information about timing and details of a plan to re-open the US/Canada border to secondary property owners.

June 2, 2021 – FOCA media release: Province confirms Ontarians can leave home to travel to a secondary residence (PDF, 1 page)

May 31, 2021 – What happens after Ontario’s stay-at-home order ends on Wednesday (June 2)?On June 2, it will no longer be illegal to leave your home for non-essential reasons.

Related media coverage:

June 4, 2021 – Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations reminds seasonal residents to follow health guidelines. ( and

June 2, 2021 – Muskoka 411

June 2, 2021 – Provinces working with Ottawa on plan to reopen U.S.-Canada border (Global News)

May 29, 2021 – Ontario extends some COVID-19 orders past June 2, including ban on recreational camping and provincial border closures (CTV)

May 25, 2021 – FOCA’s Terry Rees weighs in on a conversation about “The Do’s and Don’ts of a ‘One Dose Summer‘”  (The Current, CBC)

May 20, 2021 – With the long weekend upon us, FOCA has been fielding calls about whether it is OK to go to the cottage. Despite some exceptions announced May 20th that come into effect on May 22nd (including boat and watercraft launches), Ontario’s stay-at-home order remains in place until June 2nd.

May 20, 2021 – FOCA’s Terry Rees discusses the May Long weekend situation in the midst of Ontario’s lockdown (Weather Network)

May 20, 2021 – Calls grow for Canada, U.S. to provide ‘vision’ on how border could reopen (Global News)

May 20, 2021 – US-Canada Border Closure Extended at Least Another Month (VOA News)

May 13, 2021 – COVID-19: Doug Ford extends Ontario’s stay-at-home order until June 2  (Global)

May 12, 2021 – Toronto woman says her Kawartha Lakes cottage has been a pandemic safe haven (

May 5, 2021 – When will the Canada-U.S. border reopen? (CBC)

April 29, 2021 – OPP: Travellers still not allowed at their cottages (Kenora Online)

April 17, 2021 – Boating Ontario responds to marina implications of provincial order (download PDF, 2 pages)

April 17, 2021 – Ontario walks back new pandemic police powers following widespread backlash (National Newswatch)

April 16, 2021 – Ontario extends stay-home order to six weeks and bans most outdoor gatherings (National Post)

April 16, 2021 – Ontario Prohibits most interprovincial travel from Manitoba, Quebec (pdf) (Ontario)

April 16, 2021 – Full list of new COVID-19 emergency restrictions in Ontario (CTV)

April 15, 2021 – Due to COVID-19, recreational camping is prohibited on public (Crown) land (

April 8, 2021 – It’s too soon to talk about reopening Canada-U.S. border, says Dominic LeBlanc (CBC)

April 7, 2021 – In Canada, U.S., vaccine ‘passports’ could be new point of cross-border contention (CTV)

April 7, 2021 – What does the 28-day stay-at-home order mean for Simcoe Muskoka (CTV)
Trips to the cottage and secondary residents are frowned upon, as the government urges everyone to stay home.

April 6, 2021 – Ontario imposes stay-at-home order as COVID-19 cases surge (CBC)
The stay-at-home order requires all Ontarians to remain at home except for essential purposes such as grocery shopping, accessing health-care services (including COVID-19 vaccinations), work that cannot be done remotely and exercise close to home with only those from one’s household.

March 15, 2021 – Canada-U.S. border will reopen ‘eventually,’ but more patience needed: Trudeau (Global News)

March 15, 2021 – The Canada-U.S. border’s been shut down for a year — and there’s no reopening plan. One-year anniversary of travel restrictions is coming with no sign of a road map for returning to normal (CBC News)

March 15, 2021 – Trudeau meetings with Biden rekindle border reopening talks (Canadian Manufacturing)

February 19, 2021 – Pandemic Fuels Desire to Leave the City and Buy in Cottage Country (EIN Presswire) – “According to the Lakeland Association of Realtors, the median price for waterfront property sales for Haliburton in December 2020 was a record $750,888, increasing considerably by 51.1% from December 2019.”

February 9, 2021 – Canada further locks down international borders, announces new testing regime (CNN)

Related:  COVID-19 testing for travellers coming into Canada (Canada Border Services)

January 31, 2021 – Ford takes issue with exemption for Manitobans visiting Ontario cottages – Manitoba’s decision to exempt those with cottages from self-isolation requirements upon returning home raised the ire of Premier Doug Ford (

January 28, 2021 – Manitobans to be allowed to cross border to visit Ontario cottage property as of Friday (Global News)

January 27, 2021 – New Travel Restriction (Manitoba) (Manitoba Post)

More from the Government of Manitoba:
Manitoba Protection Plan – Information for Cottage Owners
COVID-19 Travelling to cottages

January 25, 2021 – Ontario officially extends state of emergency and stay-at-home order by 14 days (CTV News)

January 21, 2021 – the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has required all Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs’ trails, and trails utilizing Crown land in the Health Unit district, to close for the duration of the stay-at-home order, to decrease the risk to community health presented by COVID-19. Read the news here (North Bay

January 16, 2021 – Ontario extends nearly all emergency orders under Reopening Ontario Act another 30 days (CTV)

January 14, 2021 – FOCA speaks with AM640 Kelly Cutrara about cottage travel under the emergency order  (AM640) (7 mins; starts at 23:25 of the recording)

January 14, 2021 – Ontario’s cottage-country mayors weigh in on new COVID-19 regulations (Cottage Life)

January 13, 2021 – Ontario attempts to clarify what is essential under COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home order (Global News)

January 12, 2021 – Here’s what you need to know about Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions – Stay at home order comes into effect 12:01 a.m. January 14 (CBC News)

January 5, 2021 – Coronavirus: Should you go to your cottage during Ontario’s provincewide shutdown? (Global News)

Dec.22, 2020 – Doug Ford Says You Can Still Go To Your Cottage As Long As You Don’t Visit Town (Narcity)

December 1, 2020 – with a second wave underway in Ontario, and media reporting a rise in cottage country real estate purchases, together with FOCA’s own October survey suggesting off-season cottage usage could be up by as much as 35% this winter, FOCA reminds everyone to be safe and to follow Public Health guidelines if you are relocating to your rural property for a period of time.

> Watch our video conversation with PPH from earlier this year (YouTube, May 2020)- the tips still stand!

> Q&A: Staying Safe at the Lake 2020 (FOCA and PPH, May 2020)

A guide to responsible social distancing for all boaters (Boating Ontario, March 2020)

Additional FOCA webinars on the topic of cottage country and implications of the pandemic can be found further down this page.

If you do relocate to your waterfront residence (or are there already), FOCA has been suggesting the following, since late March:

  • Connect with your lake association on social media (find many connections via FOCA’s Facebook page, here). As always, these are the people who know your waterfront area best!
  • Provision yourself for several weeks (with food, drinks, gas, hardware supplies, prescriptions) before leaving your off-season community, so that you will not need to make stops along the way. This is not the time for our usual credo to “buy local” in cottage country. As you would do anywhere at this time, should you urgently need anything from a retailer or pharmacy you should call ahead to see if there are options for safe pickup or delivery.
  • Continue to follow all the principles of social distancing at the cottage! Although cottage country is usually the place for relaxed rules, that cannot be the case anywhere for the foreseeable future. Cottages are often the gathering places for multiple households in an extended family; for now, and possibly for some time to come, that could put everyone at risk.
  • Develop an exit plan with immediate family, in case you develop any indications of illness while at your waterfront property.
  • As the clock slows down on our usually-hectic schedules, use this time to enjoy nature, cook, read, sing, dance, nap and dream about dock-jumping time to come.

December 21, 2020 – Ford orders lockdown for all of Ontario starting Boxing Day (CBC)

December 21, 2020 – What’s open and closed under Ontario’s Lockdown (CTV)

December 17, 2020 – Muskoka Mayors urge the Province to use targeted community shutdowns

December 7, 2020 – Why Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide Might Save Our Lives (Mother Jones)

November 20, 2020 – FOCA’s Executive Director was interviewed on CBC Ontario Morning about the “exodus” to cottage country, and how to stay safe during the ongoing pandemic. Click to run the audio clip (see: first 8 minutes)

November 12, 2020 – Up to 7,000 seasonal residents expect to spend more time in Muskoka this winter – Muskoka’s Economic Recovery Task Force conducted survey in fall (

October 23, 2020 – Ontario has extended to May 31, 2021 the period for corporations to hold virtual AGMs, even if your bylaws do not specify this option. However, if you delayed your association AGM earlier this year due to COVID-19, and your association is incorporated, you need to move ahead to hold your AGM as soon as possible. Read an update from our partners at BLG for details. Non-profit Law Ontario has also posted information here:

October 19, 2020 – “We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until November 21st, 2020. Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.” More info:  (From Twitter, @billblair Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.)

October 15, 2020 – Trudeau: US-Canada border to remain closed until coronavirus is under control (Fox News)

October 1, 2020 – Ontario extends temporary suspension period to allow for virtual AGMs (BLG)

October 12, 2020 – La saison du chalet s’étire un peu, cette année (Radio Canada Nord)

October 2020 – with the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend fast approaching, Ontario’s Public Health Units are reminding everyone to plan a safe long weekend for you and your family. Click to download tips for a lower risk Thanksgiving, from Peterborough Public Health (PDF, 2 pages; Oct.7/20 release)

September 30, 2020 – Restrictions on non-U.S. international travel extended to Oct. 31 ; Canada-U.S. border closure may be extended beyond October 21 (CTV News)

September 28, 2020 – Currently no travel restrictions (from NW Ontario) to Manitoba or southern Ontario  (Kenora Online)

September 27, 2020 – Can Canada’s border be reopened safely in a COVID-19 world? Here are some of the options experts are looking at  (Toronto Star)

September 28, 2020 – Ontario’s 2nd wave of COVID-19 forecast to peak in October (CBC News)

September 19, 2020 – Premier limits gathering sizes provincewide as Ontario reports 407 new cases of COVID-19 (CBC)

September 16, 2020 – How COVID spreads from a cottage visit (CBC)

September 15, 2020 – Ontario has extended orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario Act until September 22, 2020 with a few notable exceptions. “We’ve seen great progress in our fight against COVID-19 in recent weeks, but now is not the time to let our guard down,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. Learn more.

September 14, 2020 – Canada/U.S. border to remain closed through Oct. 21  (

September 14, 2020 – The Pandemic is Pushing Canadians Out of Cities and Into the CountrysideRural Canada is home to more than 18 per cent of the national population and it plays a critical role in the national economy (University of Guelph)

September 1, 2020 – Northwestern Ontario residents warned of risks of travel to Manitoba (CTV News)

August 2020 – the Rural Ontario Institute released details about business closures in “non-metro” (rural) Ontario, from January to April 2020. Click to download the PDF (3 pages)

August 26, 2020 – Cottagers blocked from cross-border properties aren’t willing to sell yet (Woodstock Sentinel-Review) – FOCA is quoted in this article about Americans still looking to return to Canadian cottage properties.

August 24, 2020 – Emergency orders extended, new rules for meeting and eating (AMO)

August 4, 2020 – COVID-19 has drastically affected Canadian travel spending (Macleans) – including statistics about increased Ontario cottage country travel (trips 8 days or longer from mid-March to late-April 2020 DOUBLED compared to same period in the previous year)

…Find links to earlier news items, and additional regional news, at the bottom of this post…

Staying in Touch: Please encourage fellow members and waterfront neighbours to provide their consent to receive monthly Elert messages from FOCA. You can circulate this call-to-action:
Get on the Elert list for free cottage country updates from FOCA:
This is one of many member benefits that we hope you will highlight to fellow members. For more, visit:

Related FOCA Member Webinars:

May 2020 – “Governing our Lake Associations during the pandemic” – practical tips and legal guidance with Katherine Carre of Borden Ladner Gervais, LLP. The information provided in this webinar was current as of the date of the event. This situation is very fluid and changes are possible at any time. We received permission from the presenter to post the webinar and slides until May 19th. Contact FOCA for more information, or to review any of the topics covered in the webinar.

Tip: FOCA posts lots of additional governance information and Association resources, here:

April 2020  – “Cottage Country Considerations & COVID-19.” FOCA’s Executive Director gave our members an overview of the cottage-country impacts of the pandemic situation, at mid-April. Click to download the slide presentation (PDF, 5 MB) which contains links to reach the various webpages referenced in the webinar.

A Message from FOCA:

March 25, 2020 – Shelter in Place: Safety First

If you are a snowbird, or otherwise returning from travel abroad, Health Canada expects you to self-isolate for 14 days. Information is available online here: Health Canada COVID-19 Information.

What if you own property in two places in Ontario, and want to relocate from one to the other, such as to shelter in place at your cottage? FOCA has heard from many members, partners, and municipal contacts over the past days about this issue. Many are concerned that any transiting increases the chance for spread of illness.

FOCA reminds members that our rural communities have reduced capacity to accommodate sudden changes in supply demands. Many of us wouldn’t ordinarily open the cottage until nearer to the May long weekend. As we already know from our local grocery experiences, parts of the supply chain are under strain. Additionally, rural hospitals have limited capacity and resources, and you should consider where your health needs can best be met, in an emergency situation.

If you do relocate to your waterfront residence (or are there already), FOCA suggests the following:

  • Connect with your lake association on social media (find many connections via FOCA’s Facebook page, here). As always, these are the people who know your waterfront area best!
  • Provision yourself for several weeks (with food, drinks, gas, hardware supplies, prescriptions) before leaving your off-season community, so that you will not need to make stops along the way. This is not the time for our usual credo to “buy local” in cottage country. As you would do anywhere at this time, should you urgently need anything from a retailer or pharmacy you should call ahead to see if there are options for safe pickup or delivery.
  • Continue to follow all the principles of social distancing at the cottage! Although cottage country is usually the place for relaxed rules, that cannot be the case anywhere for the foreseeable future. Cottages are often the gathering places for multiple households in an extended family; for now, and possibly for some time to come, that could put everyone at risk.
  • Develop an exit plan with immediate family, in case you develop any indications of illness while at your waterfront property.
  • As the clock slows down on our usually-hectic schedules, use this time to enjoy nature, cook, read, sing, dance, nap and dream about dock-jumping time to come.

A guide to responsible social distancing for all boaters (Boating Ontario, March 2020)

FOCA office update

March 25, 2020 – In light of the ongoing pandemic, FOCA is abiding by the Ontario government order related to the closure of non-essential businesses, and has transitioned our staff away from our Peterborough office, as we all practice social distancing.
We will carry on serving our members digitally, during regular business hours. Our contact information is here.  You can still leave phone messages, although email inquiries may be addressed more rapidly. At this time, FOCA is monitoring and re-evaluating all our operations, programs, and services, to ensue the safety of members, staff, volunteers and others, and so you can continue to receive the timely, valued information and programming you have come to expect from FOCA. We will keep you posted about any changes as this evolving situation develops.
We expect to be able to update you with important information by webinar in the coming weeks; our website remains active and filled with updates, and information will continue to be delivered in these Elert messages.
We know that community connections, together with responsible decision-making, will be key over the coming months for FOCA as an organization, as well as for each of your own waterfront communities. Keep in touch, and continue to share your questions, ideas, and inspirations!
Here’s a quick video message to you, from FOCA’s Executive Director:
FOCA Update March 2020

recorded March 24, 2020

Earlier News and Regional Media Coverage:

July 30, 2020 – Ontario announces the opening of schools in September (Ontario)

July 28, 2020 – COVID-19 and Canada’s Border – A Plan to Re-Open Safely (Public Policy Forum)

July 20, 2020 – Ontario allows more regions to advance to Stage 3 this Friday (CTV)

July 16, 2020 – Ontario extends COVID-19 emergency orders until July 29 (CTV)

July 16, 2020 – PM Trudeau confirms Canada-U.S. border closure extending to August 21, 2020 (CTV)

effective July 17, 2020 – Ontario enters “Stage 3”: Nearly All Businesses and Public Spaces to Reopen

July 14, 2020 – Canada-U.S. border closure to be extended for another 30 days, say officials (CBC News)

July 8, 2020 – Cross-border cottagers fret over unoccupied properties during COVID-19 (Windsor Star)

July 6, 2020 – Ontario introduces legislation to extend emergency orders into 2021 (CBC)

June 30, 2020 – Shop Local, Shop Safe

June 27, 2020 – Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to July 10.  As more communities enter Stage 2, maintaining health and safety protocols remains a top priority

June 24, 2020 – Ontario has extended the provincial declaration of emergency until July 15. This will provide the province with the additional time, flexibility and necessary tools to safely and gradually allow more places to reopen, while continuing to support frontline health care providers.

June 22, 2020 – With pandemic surging globally, PM says health top priority in any border reopening plans (CTV)

June 18, 2020 – FOCA member the Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) hosted a webinar with local elected officials, “A conversation with your Mayors” to further the cooperation and communication between the MLA and its Municipal representatives

June 17, 2020 – Province June 16, 2020 – Canada- U.S. border to remain closed to non-essential travel until July 21 (CBC)

June 16, 2020 – Canada-U.S. border to remain closed to non-essential travel for another month (

June 15, 2020 – ‘Escaping’ to Rural Canada during the Pandemic, the latest in the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation’s Rural Insight Series: COVID-19

June 10, 2020 – Cottage country gears up for flood of visitors from COVID hotspots. Here’s what you need to know (Toronto Star)

June 9, 2020 – Canada has announced a limited exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada. It applies to foreign nationals who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and who do not have COVID-19 or are showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, “or who do not have reason to believe they have COVID-19.” Anyone who enters the country will have to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Read the official notice from Canada Border Services Agency 

June 8, 2020 – COVID-19: Bending the rules to go to the cottage? Here’s how to be safe  (Kitchener Today)

June 4, 2020 – …province gives green light to resume short-term rentals (CBC)

June 4, 2020 – Ontario lifts restrictions, reopens short-term rentals starting today (CityNews)

June 4, 2020 – Can you still rent a cottage this summer during the pandemic? It depends (CBC)

June 2, 2020 – Ontario extends state of emergency by four weeks (CTV)

May 30, 2020 – Cottage country facing quiet summer (Toronto Sun)

May 21, 2020 – Do you have a right to go to the cottage during the coronavirus pandemic? (The Conversation)

May 19, 2020 – US-Canada border will remain closed to nonessential travel for at least another month (CNN)
Calling the border with the United States a clear point of “vulnerability” for Canada in terms of Covid-19 infections, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that by mutual agreement, the border will remain closed to nonessential travel until at least June 21

May 19, 2020 – Ontario extends all emergency order, including limits on social gatherings (CTV News)

May 16, 2020 – Travel between provinces discouraged (CBC)

May 14, 2020 – Province announces more services that are now permitted to open or expand including marinas and public boat launches that can be open for recreational use effective 12:01am Saturday May 16.

May 13, 2020 – FOCA cited by CBC Ottawa: Cottage country dilemma: to go or not to go

May 13, 2020 – Letter from FOCA Member LOWDSA and Kenora Mayor to summer residents: A May long weekend like no other…

May 13,  2020 – Video Update from the Mayor of Muskoka Lakes (Muskoka Lakes Association)

May 12, 2020 – Cottagers in Long Point fight back against local health unit order
(CTV News)

May 12, 2020 – Ontario’s state of emergency extended until June 2nd

May 11, 2020 – FOCA speaks with the Dan McDonald Show “Will you be able to go to the cottage anytime soon“?  (AM800 CKLW Windsor)

May 11, 2020 – The urban-rural divide heats up during COVID-19 (Steve Paikin, TVO’s The Agenda)

May 8, 2020 – Ontario has announced that effective May 11, more businesses can open provided they take special measures. This includes marinas’ ability to launch and release boats for water access residents ONLY.   Marinas would still not be allowed to serve recreational boaters and non-residents.

Note that some municipalities have concurrently extended access to waterfront properties via public boat launches – which may have previously been closed to access as part of the emergency orders.  Please check with your local municipality for more information.

May  7, 2020 – Coronavirus: Can I visit my Ontario cottage on the May long weekend? (Global News)

May 7 – County mayors okay with return of cottagers (Haliburton Highlander)

May 7 – Ford relays cottage country plea: Hold off visits to stop COVID-19 spread – Premier met with cottage country mayors Wednesday, May 6 (

May 6, 2020 – CBC’ s Ottawa Morning host Robyn Bresnahan speaks with FOCA about rural concerns and a responsible return to the cottage

May 5, 2020 – FOCA on Global  News: Easing restrictions on cottagers before the long-weekend

May 5, 2020 – Premier Ford discusses responsibly easing restrictions on cottage use (Global News)

May 5, 2020 – Ontario’s top doctor won’t ban people from cottages despite region warning of $5,000 fine (CTV Toronto)

May 5 – COVID-19: Stay away, Oxford-Elgin public health boss urges Erie shore cottagers (St. Thomas Times Journal)

May 5, 2020: ‘We do not want to start a civil war’: Fight grows over seasonal access to cottages during COVID-19 (National Post)

May 4, 2020 – FOCA’s Executive Director appeared on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, in a segment entitled Ontario’s COVID-19 Cottage Quandary  (TVO)

May 4, 2020 – Reopening the Province’s marinas and water accessA letter from FOCA to the Province of Ontario

May 1, 2020: Outrage, secrecy, confusion: Medical officer of health [Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit] orders summer cottagers away (National Post)


May 3, 2020 – Restrictions not lifting yet in Ontario, Kenora mayor warns as Manitobans flock to cottage country (CBC Manitoba)

May 1, 2020 – Premier Ford announces Certain Businesses Allowed to Reopen Under Strict Safety Guidelines – including marinas who “may begin preparations for the recreational boating season” with restrictions.

See: Guidance on Health and Safety for Marinas during COVID-19 (Ontario)
Social Distancing Best Practices  for marina personnel (Boating Ontario)
FOCA Boating Safety

April 30 – Listen to FOCA’s Executive Director discussing waterfront perspectives , travel advisories, and COVID-19 with CBC Ontario Morning

April 29 – Coronavirus: Escaping the ‘city’ during pandemic not recommended by Ontario health officials (Global News)

April 29, 2020 – COVID-19 in cottage country; the marina owners ; regulatory confusion, year-rounders, and keeping their business afloat (TVO)

April 26 – Why do some Ontarians still have access to their cottages while others do not? (National Post)

April 23 – In addition to extending the Declaration of Emergency to May 12, 2020, the Ontario government will additionally be extending the orders under  s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, until May 6, 2020, in their effort to protect the health and safety of the people in Ontario.

April 21, 2020 – Cottagers need clarity as the season approaches (National Post)

April 21, 2020: the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters continues to update their webpage  that lists closures/restrictions to conservation areas, provincial parks, trails, public boat launches and more.

April 18, 2020 – The prime minister has announced that Canada’s agreement with the United States to keep the border closed to non-essential travel will be extended for another 30 days, to May 21.  The agreement originally went into effect on March 21 and was set to end on April 21. (CTV)

April 15, 2020 – The opening of the TSW and Rideau system waterways has been delayed until at least May 31st. See more information and links on this page of FOCA’s website:

April 14, 2020 – Ontario  extends the Declaration of Emergency until May 12

April 14, 2020: ‘How about we stop paying taxes’: Peterborough dealing with cottagers who want to use lakeside retreats during pandemic (Toronto Star)

April 10, 2020: Ontario Premier tells cottagers to stay home (Steinbach Online, Manitoba)
April 9, 2020: Thinking of heading to the cottage? Think again, officials say (CTV News, South Bruce Peninsula)
April 8, 2020: No renting of cottages in South Bruce Peninsula (Bayshore Broadcasting News Centre)
April 7, 2020: County of Simcoe urges cottagers to ‘Stay Home’ (iHeartRadio webpost)

April 6, 2020 – Ontario joins Quebec in restricting short-term rentals during coronavirus pandemic (Globe and Mail)

April 3, 2020 – Seasonal trailer parks and recreational campgrounds are not listed as essential businesses (Ontario)

April 2, 2020 – FOCA is quoted in this digital article: ‘COVID time is not cottage time’: Canada’s top health official (Weather Network)

April 2, 2020: Elgin County asking seasonal residents to stay put (CTV News – London)
April 2, 2020: Canadian Officials Say Heading to your Cottage isn’t helping social distancing (Narcity – video provided by the Weather Network)

April 1, 2020 – as reported by our colleagues at Boating Ontario, many marinas are currently not allowing any launches or mooring, and/or are on restricted access for service or repair. While marinas are listed among Ontario’s “essential services” the posting notes “only to the extent that the marina is necessary to enable individuals to access their primary place of residence.” See an April 10, 2020 letter to Boating Ontario from MTO. For links to several postings, visit: 

April 1, 2020: Huron cottagers asked to consider safety first
(Clinton News Record)
March 31, 2020: Manitoba border checkpoints operational (CTV News – Winnipeg)
March 31, 2020: Greg Rickford asks non-resident cottage owners to stay home (Thunder Bay NewsWatch)

March 31, 2020 – FOCA has been contacted by members who are American citizens who traditionally spend up to six months of the year at their Canadian waterfront properties, wondering whether they will be allowed entry at the border, even to check on their properties due to recurring Spring water level concerns. On March 26th, FOCA spoke with Canadian Border Services customer service who informed us that developments were occurring quickly, and could continue to change at any time. You are advised to call 1-800-461-9999 and talk to a Border Services customer representative for the most current information. Please note that additional restrictions related to cross border travel may also be imposed by US Customs and Border Protection.

Important: this situation is very fluid and changes are possible at any time.

March 29, 2020 – Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada directed her messaging to snowbirds and other travellers returning to Canada, specifically noting: “Urban dwellers/Cottagers should RESIST THE URGE to head to the cottage and rural properties as these communities have less capacity to manage COVID19.” For her full remarks, visit @CPHO_Canada on Twitter

March 30, 2020: Manitobans could overwhelm cottage country if they vacation during pandemic, health officials warn (CBC Manitoba)

March 25, 2020: Seasonal cottagers – please stay home (Shoreline Beacon)
Terry ReesCOVID-19 Updates from FOCA