Seasonal trailer parks, campgrounds deemed non-essential, with exceptions

The provincial government announced over the weekend that seasonal trailer parks and recreational campgrounds are not on the amended list of essential businesses allowed to open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the number of them in Sarnia-Lambton, city Mayor Mike Bradley said they’ve received many questions about their status.

He said Monday there are exceptions in the provincial order.

“I think it will be a bit of a struggle because I think a number of the campgrounds, I don’t know about Lambton, but elsewhere have opened,” said Bradley. “One of the conditions they [the province] put in there, if I understand it correctly, is that if it’s your permanent home, in other words, you go to Texas or Florida for the winter and you come back to this location and this location alone, that you can still come back to that location.”

A joint ministers letter to municipalities Saturday said “seasonal trailer parks and recreational campgrounds are not listed as essential businesses and, as such, are required to be closed as of 11:59 p.m. today. We recognize Ontario “snowbirds” are returning to Canada earlier than they normally would. In some instances, seasonal trailer parks and campgrounds may have been opened earlier than usual to permit individuals to take up temporary accommodation in their mobile homes, recreational vehicles or trailers. For Ontarians whose only Canadian residence is at one of these seasonal trailer parks or campgrounds, they are permitted to continue their occupancy and complete their mandatory self-isolation as required by the mandatory isolation order made by the federal government under the Quarantine Act which took effect on March 25, 2020.”

Mayor Bradley said these are unprecedented times.

“That is huge across this province, but obviously the provincial government had reached the point where they realized as these campgrounds and trailer parks opened, we’re social people, we’re human beings and trying to stop people from gathering outside the six feet limitation is really, really difficult. And, I think that’s why the Ford government decided to look, we just can’t take the risk here,” Bradley said.

Looking ahead to the Easter weekend, the mayor admitted it’s going to be very difficult because people want to be with each other, but he hopes everyone follows the pandemic rules.

-With files from Sue Storr