|What you need to know about planning a day trip from Toronto now|
A day trip from Toronto may be the closest thing resembling vacation plans this summer. And for most of us who are itching to go somewhere — anywhere — in the months ahead, that'll do. Lucky for us, there's an abundance of great destinations just a short distance from the city.
Though things are slowly beginning to reopen and return to a new normal, the COVID-19 pandemic is hardly behind us yet. We should keep health and safety at the front of our minds if we plan any sort of adventure this summer.
Here's what you need to know if you want to take a day trip from Toronto right now.
Keep it close to home
Try and keep it relatively close to home and don’t venture too far out since non-essential travel is still not recommended. The farther you go, the greater risk there will be of requiring washroom breaks or running into car trouble.
Stock up to avoid unnecessary stops
One of the simplest ways we can avoid the risk of contracting COVID-19 while on the road is to avoid pit stops, like multiple trips to the grocery store or the gas station.
In order to be as self-sufficient as possible and keep your interactions to a minimum, fuel up before you head out and pack an abundance of food and water to hold you over, as well as any necessary medications.
Also, don’t forget hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol, as well as disinfecting wipes and a cloth face mask, not only for your own personal safety, but for the safety of others you may come across.
Many beaches remain off-limits including Cobourg Beach, where the local town council just voted to keep the beach grounds closed until the end of August and Wasaga Beach has made it very clear that day trippers should not visit.
Most day-use areas and trails in Ontario parks are now open including Algonquin Park, Sandbanks, Bruce Peninsula (Flowerpot Island is still closed until further notice) and Elora Gorge (though the quarry remains closed).
Toilet facilities on the trails may be closed, so check the individual park pages before heading out. Visitor centres, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and beaches remain closed.
St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market is now open again, though market manager, Leanne McGray, says it won't be the tourist day trip that it was before the pandemic.
“We don’t have any of the family activities we normally have, the vendor count is reduced from upwards of 300 to about 80 and artisan and flea market vendors are not permitted to open at this point.”
Opt for wide open spaces to visit
Health officials recommend keeping at least six feet of distance from others, so you’ll want to steer clear of crowded or congested destinations. The safest activities right now will be hiking or biking a trail or enjoying an outdoor park space.
It's important to maintain physical distance, even when you're outdoors, by keeping a safe distance from other hikers or park-goers, moving aside to allow others to safely pass, travelling with five or less people and not congregating in groups.
Be sensitive to locals and small-town resources
Rural communities don’t have the healthcare infrastructure for an unexpected influx of new visitors. Shannon Hunter, who owns six vacation properties, understands local hospital concerns about handling a rush of COVID-19 patients.
“My husband is a family physician in Prince Edward County, having recently relocated his practice here. Because of this we were uniquely positioned to hear both sides of the initial debates about how to handle the emerging crisis."
For this reason, the county is currently asking everyone to, 'Please visit later' on its official tourism website. In April, Niagara-On-The-Lake set up three large digital signs with the message, ‘Please stay home’ in order to discourage visitors.
Listen to these requests to stay away and be respectful of the full-time residents in any location you’re visiting. Also, avoid using local health providers so you don't exhaust the local resources.
Blog TO 6/6/2020