COVID-19 : Get the latest updates on Ontario Parks and COVID-19.

COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Question:

    What’s open and what’s closed at Ontario Parks?

  • Answer:
    Here is what is open now:

    • campground campsites
    • backcountry campsites
    • roofed accommodations
    • seasonal campsite program
    • washroom facilities
    • drinking water
    • trailer sanitation stations
    • day use areas
    • beaches
    • trails
    • boat launches
    • paddling routes
    • pet exercise areas
    • visitor centers
    • park stores
    • rentals (please bring your own safety gear such as lifejackets, PFDs, bike helmets, etc.)
    • playgrounds / sports fields

    Here is what is not currently available at Ontario Parks:

    • showers
    • laundry facilities
    • group camping
    • picnic shelter rentals
    • swimming pools
    • the Learn to Camp program
    • the Learn to Fish program
    • festivals and large events
    • PARKsmart PFD loaning program (please bring your own PFD to the park)
    • the OFAH Tackleshare program

    We encourage visitors to click on the “Parks” drop down menu to view the Facilities and Activities icons to see what’s available at the park you wish to visit.
    We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, wearing a face covering when physical distancing may be challenging or not possible, washing hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.

    Safety of our visitors and staff is always our top priority. We will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in our park spaces and buildings during busy visitation times by limiting occupancy for day-use and camping in select provincial parks.

    This may include limiting the number of daily vehicle permits sold or the number of campsites available for reservations. You may notice that day use parking areas will not be as full, or some campsites will remain empty during your stay.

    Ministry officers will be present in provincial parks to provide information, assist with emergencies and enforce provincial park rules and regulations. Additionally, these areas may be patrolled by local police or other enforcement agencies.

  • Question:

    How do I know what facilities or activities are available at the operating provincial park I wish to visit?

  • Answer:
    To find out what is available at the park you wish to visit please click on the “Parks” drop down menu at www.ontarioparks.com to view the Facilities and Activities icons.

  • Question:

    Are masks mandatory? / Do we have to wear a mask when visiting the park?

  • Answer:
    Provincial parks are subject to direction from the province and their local public health unit for the mandatory use of non-medical masks or face coverings while visiting various indoor spaces. Please visit the COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario webpage or check the local health unit’s website for the park you plan to visit to see if any directive applies; Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website has a complete list of Public Health Units across the province.

    The safety of our visitors and staff is always our top priority. We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice.

  • Question:

    Will you supply masks?

  • Answer:
    No, Ontario Parks is not able to provide masks or face-coverings to visitors. Some parks may have masks available to purchase in Park Stores.

  • Question:

    Are homemade masks okay, such as cloth masks or bandannas?

  • Answer:
    Visitors are asked to wear a face covering while using various indoor facilities. Recognizing that visitors may not have access to a mask, alternate solutions -- such as scarves, bandannas, etc. -- are acceptable.

  • Question:

    Why won’t showers or laundry facilities be open this season?

  • Answer:
    The health and well-being of visitors and staff will always be our number one priority as we decide how and when to open parks, facilities and services. At this time, Ontario Parks is unable guarantee the required level of cleanliness and disinfection of showers or laundry facilities. Our efforts will be focused on ensuring essential facilities such as washrooms and high traffic public areas are thoroughly cleaned and maintained. For more information on protocols for camping without showers read our blog article, what to do when showers are closed.

  • Question:

    Why isn’t the day use fee reduced if not all facilities and services are open yet?

  • Answer:
    Ontario Parks’ normal fees will apply for all camping and day-use activities and services provided where normally charged. All fees collected go directly back to supporting the operation and maintenance of the entire park system.

  • Question:

    Do I need a reservation to go camping in Ontario Parks?

  • Answer:
    Ontario Parks is strongly recommending that visitors make advanced reservations to limit contact during transactions and campsites may be limited and not guaranteed upon arrival without a reservation.

    Reservations can be made two ways:
    1. Online at reservations.ontarioparks.com, or
    2. By phone at 1-888-668-PARK (7275) - open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 363 days a year

  • Question:

    How do I check in for my camping reservation?

  • Answer:
    All reservation holders will receive a reminder email seven days in advance of their arrival that will provide direction for the check-in process.

  • Question:

    What do I need to keep with me as proof of registration when I am using the backcountry?

  • Answer:
    Campers who are able to reserve and register online are responsible for having an electronic or printed copy of their permit with them when in the park. A copy of the vehicle permit must be displayed on the dash of your vehicle when parked within a designated areas of an operating provincial park.

  • Question:

    Are there any restrictions for campground or backcountry camping due to Ontario’s current restrictions? What are the rules for camping?

  • Answer:
    No more than six people can occupy a campground camping site, and no more than nine people at a backcountry campsite with the exception of six people in backcountry campsite at Bon Echo, Charleston Lake, Frontenac and Killarney hiking trail.

    All other rules for camping apply. Please visit Reservation Rules for more information.

  • Question:

    Can I make a change to my reservation without incurring a change fee?

  • Answer:
    Yes, Ontario Parks is offering free changes to your 2020 reservations, depending on availability. If another date or location is unavailable, Ontario Parks is offering penalty-free cancellations.

    If you wish to make a change to your reservation online, please log in to your reservation account at reservations.ontarioparks.com.

  • Question:

    Can I make a future reservation for the 2020 camping season?

  • Answer:
    Yes, however, Ontario Parks will continue to monitor reservation bookings and may need to limit the number of reservations available. Please be aware that we will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in our buildings and during busy visitation times.

    Reservations can be made two ways:
    1. Online at reservations.ontarioparks.com,
    2. By phone at 1-888-668-PARK (7275) - open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time

  • Question:

    What’s the difference between a non-operating park and an operating park?

  • Answer:
    Non-operating provincial parks offer limited recreational experiences, fewer facilities and generally no dedicated staff or fee collection. Operating parks offer a variety of services and facilities, such as campground camping, roofed accommodations, washrooms, and Discovery programs, and charge fees.

    Please visit the Park Locator page at Park Locator to find a provincial park near you.

  • Question:

    Can we visit with our friends on their campsite?

  • Answer:
    Visiting on campsites is permitted provided the maximum number of persons does not exceed the provincial restriction as established under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

    As a reminder, no more than six people can occupy a campground campsite overnight.

    We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.

  • Question:

    How you plan to handle physical distancing in the bathrooms?

  • Answer:
    We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a may be challenging or not possible, washing hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.

    Occupancy restrictions may be posted on comfort stations to limit the number of people permitted to enter the building at one time.

  • Question:

    What precautions will be put in place to keep your public washrooms clean?

  • Answer:
    Priority for cleaning and disinfection is placed on high-touch surfaces in public areas including washrooms and other shared facilities. These areas will be cleaned and disinfected twice per day at a minimum or more in higher use areas.

  • Question:

    How are you improving cleaning processes for Roofed Accommodations during COVID-19?

  • Answer:
    We are implementing appropriate cleaning procedures in our roofed accommodation units including priority for cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces.

    To accommodate these changes, check-in/ check-out times may be modified, and some amenities may not be available (e.g., kettles, dishes and linens) at some provincial parks. All reservation holders will be contacted and provided with additional information in advance of their arrival date.

  • Question:

    Why are some Roofed Accommodations not opening?

  • Answer:
    We will be implementing measures to ensure sufficient time for cleaning procedures during busy visitation times by limiting occupancy for roofed accommodations in select provincial parks.

  • Question:

    Are there any changes to the check-in Procedures for Roofed Accommodations?

  • Answer:
    Check-in / check-out times may be modified to accommodate cleaning procedures. All reservation holders will be contacted and provided with additional information in advance of their arrival date.

  • Question:

    Can I bring my pet with me to stay in roofed accommodation?

  • Answer:
    Yes, pet friendly accommodations will be available this season.

  • Question:

    Can I return my 2020 Seasonal Day Use Vehicle Permit for a full refund?

  • Answer:
    Yes. We are offering full refunds for a 2020 Summer or 2020/2021 Annual day use vehicle permit up to August 16, 2020.

    You can return your permit in-person at a park office, once open, or by mail. If you are returning your permit by mail, please follow the instructions for submitting a refund request form and mail your seasonal permit and the completed refund request form to:

    Ontario Parks Revenue Administration Office
    Refund Request
    P.O. Box 2178
    Orillia, Ontario
    L2V 6S1

    Please allow 4 to 6 weeks to process the refund after Ontario Parks resumes regular operations.

    If you have any questions regarding your order or the status of your refund, please reach out to us via our contact page and select Online Store Purchase as your topic.

    Please continue to visit OntarioParks.com and Ontario Parks social media channels for the most up-to-date information and park opening dates.


  • Question:

    Why will it take 4-6 weeks after Ontario Parks resumes full operations to process my refund?

  • Answer:
    Due to the high volume of refunds, please allow longer than normal time to process the refunds. We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.

  • Question:

    Will Ontario Parks further extend the expiry date of seasonal day use vehicle permits?

  • Answer:
    Yes. For visitors who have purchased and received either a 2020 Summer or 2020/21 Annual Day Use Vehicle Permit, Ontario Parks will extend the expiry date of the permit. 2020/21 Annual Day Use Vehicle Permit will be effective until December 31, 2021 and 2020 Summer Day Use Vehicle Permit will be effective until March 31, 2021.

  • Question:

    Why are you renting canoes but not PFDs?

  • Answer:
    Ontario Parks is unable to meet the recommendations from the Life Jacket Association in relation to cleaning and storing life jackets during COVID-19.

    Visitors are responsible for bringing their own life jackets/PFDs at the current time.

  • Question:

    Will you be disinfecting campsites in between campers?

  • Answer:
    Campsites will not be disinfected between visitors.

    Priority for cleaning and disinfection is placed on high-touch surfaces in public areas including washrooms and other shared facilities. These areas will be cleaned and disinfected twice per day at a minimum or more in higher use areas.

  • Question:

    Can I only visit local parks, or can I travel to another area to visit a park there?

  • Answer:
    There are currently no plans to restrict access to Ontario Parks. Ontario Parks continues to follow restrictions put in place by the province and public health advice.

  • Question:

    Are Ontario Parks still running Discovery Programs?

  • Answer:
    A reduced number of Ontario Parks will offer some Discovery programming. While traditional programs such as kids programs and guided hikes may not be possible, where feasible, Discovery staff may engage with campers in ways that respect social distancing guidelines.

    At some parks, Discovery staff will continue to develop and make available self-use and virtual interpretive products such as signage, trail guides and online short video.

  • Question:

    How do I follow safe handwashing practices if washrooms are unavailable at non-operating provincial parks and conservation reserves? Should I wear gloves or masks when at a park?

  • Answer:
    Visitors to non-operating provincial parks and conservation reserves are encouraged to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

    The following measures are the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19:
    • washing your hands regularly, when available, or hand sanitizer
    • practicing proper cough and sneeze etiquette (e.g., sneeze and cough into your sleeve, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth).
    • maintaining physical distancing – keeping two meters from individuals outside your household.
    • staying home except for essential reasons

    It’s important that you come to the park prepared with hand sanitizer, extra water, soap, and other supplies.