By Chad Ingram
Marinas were among the Ontario businesses that were allowed to reopen on Saturday following an announcement by the provincial government on May 14.
Previously marinas had been under tight restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic prohibited from doing any work on recreational boats. The week before last marinas were informed they could start preparation work to reopen.
“We’ve been allowed to get boats ready for about the last week and half” said Ann Gordon owner of Haliburton RPM who was happy to hear the announcement from the province.
“We’ve been social distancing” Gordon said explaining a number of COVID-19 protocols had been instituted for staff at the marinas including one employee per boat while cleaning and work stations that are farther apart. “We’re just excited to get some boats out. Usually they go out gradually.”
Gordon said RPM is doing its best to get many boats ready as soon as possible.
“Usually it takes us six weeks getting ready for the boats to go out” she said. “This year we’ve had a week and a half. We’re working like crazy to make sure everyone’s happy. It’s just patience.”
“We’re happy to see the cottagers back” Gordon said adding that boating is an activity that lends itself to social distancing.
Along with marinas Premier Doug Ford announced on May 14 that as of the long weekend golf courses could also reopen with clubhouses only permitted to be open for the use of washroom facilities.
Private campgrounds and parks were also permitted to open for preparation and for access to trailers and recreational vehicles for clients with year-long contracts.
“During the last several weeks the people of Ontario have been called on to make incredible sacrifices to help us stop the spread of COVID-19 including staying home from work closing down businesses and going without a regular paycheque” Ford said during the May 14 press conference. “However we are reopening even more of our businesses beginning this long weekend. We are taking a cautious balanced approach to our economic reopening to protect the health and safety of everyone.”
Other businesses such as retail stores not located within shopping malls are being permitted to reopen May 19.